Halfon slams Bristol University inaction over Miller

Education Select Committee chair asks for ‘urgent statement’ on the issue from the Leader of the House


The MP Robert Halfon has launched a scathing attack on Bristol University's failure to act over the conduct of Professor David Miller, suggesting "Jewish students are clearly not welcomed or safe or valued - and sadly history teaches us where this ends."

Speaking during Business Questions, the Education Select Committee chair referred to complaints made by Jewish students about the sociology professor's remarks and claimed "the university management cares nothing, sees nothing and does nothing about this.

"They appear to regard Jewish students as an inconvenience and a nuisance and refuse to take serious action."

Asking for an "urgent statement" from the Leader of the House Jacob Rees-Mogg on the issue, the Harlow Tory MP said he had written to the vice chancellor of Bristol University this week to raise his concern at the failure to respond to Jewish student's complaints.

Responding, Mr Rees-Mogg confirmed he had passed the matter on to the Secretary of State and to the Universities Minister."We expect higher education providers to be at the forefront of tackling antisemitism, making sure it is a fulfilling experience for everyone," said the Leader of the Commons. 

He also stressed the need for universities to have "robust policies and procedures in place" to swiftly investigate allegations of hate crimes.

In his letter to Professor Hugh Brady, the University of Bristol's President and Vice-Chancellor, Mr Halfon wrote that he was "extremely concerned that young Jewish students feel they are not supported by the University of Bristol and have had to go to such lengths to make themselves heard."

The MP, who is Jewish, stressed he had written the letter in his capacity as an MP and not as Select Committee chair.

Outlining the complaints made against Professor Miller -  including describing  Zionism as the “enemy” and referring  to the Union of Jewish Students (UJS) as an “Israel lobby group” which makes Arab and Muslim students "unsafe'" - Mr Halfon added that "Jewish groups have alleged that the University of Bristol has provided an academic with a platform to promote conspiracy theories about Jewish influence and control, using classic antisemitic tropes to characterise the State of Israel."

His letter asked: “If the quotations and statements above are correct, could you please explain whether or not Professor Miller will be facing disciplinary proceedings?"


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