Universities will be fined for no-platforming controversial speakers

The government are forcing unis to tackle safe space culture

Universities could be fined, suspended or even de-registered if they fail to protect freedom of speech, in new plans laid out by universities minister Jo Johnson.

The government will announce today that unis must guarantee free speech on campus or face being blacklisted by the new Office for Students (OfS) regulator.

Johnson has said that students are becoming over-sensitised, and this plan aims to force student bodies to stop no-platforming speakers they disagree with.

Universities minister, Jo Johnson, is the younger brother of Boris

Universities minister, Jo Johnson, is the younger brother of Boris

Johnson said in a letter to The Times:

"Freedom of speech is a fundamentally British value which is undermined by a reluctance of institutions to embrace healthy vigorous debate. Our universities must open minds not close them."

Speakers such as Peter Tatchell and Germaine Greer have faced opposition in the past over attempts to give talks on campuses because of their views on transgender issues.

A petition and protests were launched against Greer's attempt to give a lecture at Cardiff university back in 2015. 3,000 people signed the petition and police patrolled the venue during the talk.

In further higher education reforms, Johnson announced a curb on degree grade inflation amid fears of decreasing standards of excellence, as well as further checks on cheating and plagiarism.

Johnson also reiterated calls for more two-year degrees in order to help students save money. He criticised Jeremy Corbyn's plan to scrap tuition fees, stating that it would reduce the number of students going to university. Student number controls would have to be reintroduced, marking a return to university being an "elite experience".