Professor Kathleen Stock: Resignation Debate

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Department: Department for Education

Professor Kathleen Stock: Resignation

Baroness Jenkin of Kennington Excerpts
Tuesday 16th November 2021

(2 years, 8 months ago)

Lords Chamber
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Baroness Barran Portrait Baroness Barran (Con)
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The noble and right reverend Lord makes a good point. I am sure that he will have seen the letter written by over 200 academics that was published in the Sunday Times last month, making the point that, actually, junior academics face the most chilling impacts of what is going on. Of course, he will know that the Office for Students is independent, and how it presents its report is therefore up to it, but I would be happy to answer questions on it, should they arise.

Baroness Jenkin of Kennington Portrait Baroness Jenkin of Kennington (Con)
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My Lords, much of the public discourse around Kathleen Stock’s case has focused on free speech and her right to express her views. Not enough has been said about what those views are. As the noble Lord, Lord Hunt, said, Professor Stock believes that biological sex is binary and immutable—a view that is held by most people in this country—and that it is not transphobic to hold these views and at the same time to believe that we must protect women’s rights. Can my noble friend confirm that holding these beliefs is a protected characteristic under the Equality Act 2010 and that it is unlawful for employers, service providers and co-workers to discriminate against or harass their employees or customers simply for holding or expressing such beliefs?

Baroness Barran Portrait Baroness Barran (Con)
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I point my noble friend towards the recent Employment Appeal Tribunal ruling that held that “gender-critical” beliefs that do not seek to “destroy the rights” of trans people can be protected beliefs under the Equality Act. Individuals should not face unlawful discrimination in the workplace for expressing those beliefs within the law.