Campuses must stop extremists

January 27, 2011

John Mann has called the apparent refusal by the London School of Economics to clamp down on Islamist extremist speakers "unacceptable behaviour."
During the antisemitism debate, many MPs voiced anger over why hate speakers continue to be tolerated on campus.

Mr Mann highlighted the case of Abdel Bari Atwan who spoke at LSE while audience members shouted "Nazi" at Jewish students. The MP said: "In a democratic society, we cannot have the kind of incidents that we saw in December. It was not only the comments of Atwan that were unacceptable, because the consequential behaviour that resulted from them was equally unacceptable. That is not tolerance, and it is not free speech."

Mr Mann praised Manchester University's guidelines for dealing with controversial speakers on campus and urged other universities to adopt similar guidelines. "If we get that this year, it will be a magnificent achievement for Parliament and an accolade for the government, which will have our support in pushing the universities because the issue is important."

Harlow MP Robert Halfon said: "There must be a financial penalty for university campuses that do not put their house in order. The blame lies squarely with the university authorities for allowing this sort of thing to go on."

But the idea of fining universities was rejected by the minister at the debate, Lib Dem Andrew Stunell, Under-Secretary of State for Communities, who said: "I do not think I want to get there yet."

Last updated: 3:35pm, January 27 2011