New threat to religious liberty and free speech in universities We have recently become aware that the government is intending to rush through dangerous new legislation under the guise of commitment to so-called ‘British values’ and guidance relating to anti-extremism. The Home Office is calling it a ‘Prevent Duty’ but it could well impact cherished civil liberties.

This time it is universities that are likely to be affected.

New draft government guidance will effectively require university authorities to vet visiting speakers’ talks and presentational materials for Christian Union meetings. Such proposals will convey blanket powers for universities to censor all outside speakers. Whilst aimed at all external presenters this will also provide the means for those hostile to Christian beliefs to obstruct the operation of Christian groups such as CUs, several of which have already been a target in recent years. Even the sermons of speakers at carol services will be caught by the proposals.

You can access a copy of the government’s proposals onlineThese also contain a consultation which must be responded to by 30 January.

If you can, please write to your MP before this date. If you are also able to respond to the consultation itself by completing the responses contained within it or by writing a letter to the Home Office (address on page 4 of the consultation) it is vitally important to let the government know how strongly the public feel about the implications of what they are proposing.


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