Theresa May says safe spaces are stifling free speech at university

She described them as ‘quite extraordinary’


The Prime Minister has said today that safe spaces at university are stifling debate and harming our education.

Theresa May during Prime Minister’s Questions criticised them, and called them “quite extraordinary”, after being questioned by Tory MP for Louth and Horncastle Victoria Atkins.

Atkins told the House on Wednesday that safe spaces are undermining the fundamental British value of freedom of speech where a minority of students felt a “sense of entitlement” and “their wish not to be offended shuts down debate”.

Atkins then went onto ask the Prime Minister whether she agreed with her that “university is the place for lively debate and the fear of being offended must not trump freedom of speech”.

The Prime Minister said: “We want our universities not just to be places of learning but places where there is open debate. which is challenged and people can get involved in that,” the prime minister replied.

“I think everybody is finding this concept of safe spaces quite extraordinary, frankly. We want to see that innovation of thought taking place in our universities.

“That’s how we develop as a country, as a society, and as an economy, and I absolutely agree with my honourable friend.”

Measures such as safe spaces and also no platforming have been introduced by several universities over the last few years in order that any actions, whether that be controversial views or art or music which is deemed offensive to any groups, particularly minorities, are banned.

According to sources, Jeremy Corbyn disagreed with the Prime Minister’s position, highlighting his strong opposition to abusive behaviour in public debate. Corbyn believes the nature of debate is a matter for universities.