Asked about Professor Miller, Education Secretary says: ‘I do not expect universities to tolerate racists’

Gavin Williamson says during an Education Select Committee Hearing that people ‘committing antisemitism’ should be sacked


Asked about Bristol University’s notorious Professor David Miller – currently under investigation over a series of inflammatory remarks about Jewish students – the Education Secretary has said that he “would never expect a university to tolerate racists”. 

Comments by the professor have included claims that “all JSocs” operate “under the auspices of the Union of Jewish Students (UJS), an Israel lobby group”, and his belief that these students were “political pawns" of a "violent, racist foreign regime".

Speaking at an online campaign event in February, Professor Miller said: “It’s a question of how we defeat the ideology of Zionism in practice. How do we make sure Zionism is ended essentially. There’s no other way of saying that.”

At an Education Select Committee hearing on Wednesday, Mr Williamson was asked by Chair Robert Halfon for his position on the professor. 

Mr Williamson responded: “I would never expect a university to tolerate racists and I would never expect a university to tolerate antisemitism. 

“Where there is racism – whether that is manifested in antisemitic remarks – I would naturally expect there to be a proper and full employment procedure. I wouldn’t expect any form of racism to be tolerated and I would expect those people who are committing antisemitism to be dismissed from the staff.” 

Mr Williamson was also pressed by Conservative MP Jonathan Gullis on the issue of universities adopting the IHRA definition of antisemitism. 

The Stoke-on-Trent North MP asked whether higher education institutions that do not subscribe to the definition would receive penalties. 

Mr Williamson replied that he was working closely with the government’s antisemitism adviser, Lord John Mann, on ensuring that all universities sign up. 

He added: “We’ve had an exceptionally large rise in the number of universities that have signed up... 

“Some (universities) have required a little bit of extra time, but if we’re in a position where there is a complete reluctance to be able to do this, we will look at taking other actions that may be available.” 

A spokesperson for the Support David Miller campaign said: “Gavin Williamson and other government ministers should find their backbone instead of repeatedly giving in to a vast censorship campaign being pushed by Israel lobbyists onto British schools and universities.”

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