The gang who attempted to ban UKIP from speaking at the University of East Anglia has been revealed as a motley crew of hard left students.
The debate, at which UKIP’s general election candidate for Norwich South Steve Emmens was due to speak was postponed by the Students’ Union after a petition was signed by more than 1,100 people.
UKIP’s first elected MP and former UAE alumnus Douglas Carswell is due to speak there in the New Year and there were concerns there could be problems caused ahead of his event.
And she was assisted with her petition by Liam McCafferty who, according to the website Nope, Not Hope, was arrested at a ‘United Against Fascism’ demonstration for assaulting a police officer.
McCafferty, 22, from Doncaster, was convicted of assault in June 2011 and fined £100. He subsequently appealed the conviction, but it was upheld and the defendant landed with an additional bill for costs.
On requesting to make smaller repayments following his trial, he was told ‘if he could afford to swan off to demonstrations, he can afford to pay up’ by the judge.
UKIP MP for Clacton, Douglas Carswell, tweeted saying:
UEA student lefties have banned UKIP from speaking on campus. Sld boost turnout when I speak there in the New Year. #FreeThinking
— Douglas Carswell MP (@DouglasCarswell) November 27, 2014
And ironically, McCafferty responded to say that the decision was taken on the grounds of safety, saying ‘Our duty is to ensure all our members feel safe’, despite him, not the speakers, holding the conviction for violence.
Ms Suli, who was an ‘Environmental Awareness Scholar’ at her sixth form college, is associated with the UAE’s Lib Dem society which took to twitter to ‘call for calm’ after the local MP Simon Wright condemned the decision to stop the event.
We need to take a backward step and not single out individuals regarding the banning of UKIP. Calm leadership is needed to deal with this.
— UEA Lib Dems (@UEALibDems) November 28, 2014
She wrote on the website presenting the petition: “This is about ensuring UEA students are on a campus where they feel safe, secure and respected.”
After the cancellation was announced, Ms Suli said: “To call this an assault on freedom of speech is an error” even though her own political party disagreed with the decision to stop a free and open debate.
A rival petition was also set up, slamming the left wing group for trying to ban free speech. Adam Romo who insists he is not a supporter of the anti-EU party, called for the event to be reinstated, saying:
“Please do not let a people who contradict their own liberal principles by preventing real problems being discussed for their own opinions to be maintained,” he wrote.
The Students’ Union has confirmed that the event will be rescheduled. It is expected to be better attended than before Ms Suli and McCafferty became involved.