UCL provost apologises after suggesting Holocaust denier could speak

Dr Michael Spence, provost and president, at University College London, made the claim in radio interview


The provost of University College London has apologised for claiming that his belief in free speech was so strong that he would allow a Holocaust denier to speak to students.

Dr Michael Spence, president and provost at UCL, had been asked during an interview with Times Radio whether he would allow such a scenario to happen.

He said: “We would have anybody to speak who was invited by an academic or by a student so long as the speech was lawful and there weren’t going to be public order problems that we couldn’t control or whatever.”

Dr Spence that said that were a Holocaust denier invited to speak, the university “would have a responsibility to make sure its Jewish and other students were looked after, that the event took place in an environment in which other views were expressed.”

Jonathan Hunter, chair of the Pinsker Centre, which campaigns against antisemitism across campuses, said, “the fact the murder of six million Jews occurred is not up for debate.”

In an apology to the Daily Telegraph, Dr Spence said: “I fully acknowledge the emotional impact that Holocaust denial has on Jewish and other members of the community. I will do my upmost to ensure UCL remains the kind of place in which such a speaker would never be invited.

“I apologise if my response could be understood as suggesting otherwise.”


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