A newspaper columnist has accused a university of censorship after they cancelled his talk because it clashed with LGBT+ events.
Peter Hitchens, who writes for The Mail on Sunday, was due to speak at the University of Portsmouth on 12 February but was told yesterday his invitation had been withdrawn because his views clashed with LGBT History Month – an annual celebration of the lives and achievements of people who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender.
Announcing the decision on the Students’ Union website, the university said that the opinions of the 67-year-old, who is opposed to same-sex marriage, “are not necessarily aligned with the Students’ Union’s vibrant celebration of the LGBT+ community this month”.
Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, Mr Hitchens said: “What does it matter whether there’s an LGBT+ week? If somebody has been invited to speak there is no excuse – especially in an institution devoted to freedom of thought and speech and education – for telling them not to come and for stopping a meeting from taking place.
“That is thought policing and it is undoubtedly censorship. There is no way out of it.”
He added: “There is a group of people who don’t want my views to be heard because they have been taught for many years in schools what to think rather than how to think, and they’re afraid of opposing opinions so they want to silence them.”