Higher Education (Freedom of Speech) Bill Debate

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Department: Leader of the House
Baroness Garden of Frognal Portrait Baroness Garden of Frognal (LD)
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My Lords, Amendments 15 and 16 were probing amendments, so I do not think my noble friend Lord Wallace will be totally mortified to discover that the entire Committee is not in favour of them.

Earl of Leicester Portrait The Earl of Leicester (Con)
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First, I apologise for not attending Second Reading; I could not be here. I shall speak very briefly against Amendment 16 because I think it is very dangerous to leave out “controversial or unpopular opinions”. Newton had a particularly controversial opinion, Einstein too, and Galileo’s opinion on Copernican heliocentrism, which for you and I is the earth rotating daily and revolving around the sun, was met with opposition by the Catholic Church; he was tried under the Roman Inquisition in 1615 and spent the rest of his life in house arrest. To suggest that we remove the words “controversial or unpopular opinions” is, I think, very dangerous.

Lord Strathcarron Portrait Lord Strathcarron (Con)
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My Lords, I speak to my Amendments 17, 18, 19 and 21. We have already debated Amendment 17 at some length. I hope that Amendments 18, 19 and 21 are uncontroversial; I merely hope to tighten up and future-proof for anything that comes in the future. I believe that they address some concerns raised in an earlier group by the noble Lords, Lord Collins of Highbury and Lord Triesman, and the noble Baroness, Lady Fox of Buckley, and I hope they prove agreeable.