Tommy Robinson, the ex-leader of the English Defence League (EDL), has been barred from speaking at Durham University. Mr Robinson was planning to talk about free speech and “political policing,” which he alleges has now been used to silence him.
On the 15th of this month, Napat Rungsrithananon, President of the Durham Union Society messaged Mr Robinson to say:
“It is with deep regret that the Standing Committee – the executive body of the Durham Union Society – have voted to withdraw an invitation to you in light of the speech you gave at Holland.”
Also, on the 27th of August, they e-mailed Mr Robinson asking him to “quiet down” about the talk, with Rungsrithananon claiming: “Things are getting difficult on our side” because they were “deal[ing] with security issues which could potentially get out of hand if the event is publicized.”
In 2014 Yusuf Chambers, a senior member of the Islamic Education and Research Academy (IERA), spoke at Durham University. He has condoned brutal punishments, including execution for sex outside of marriage, and claimed homosexuality “is bad for you”, saying: “there’s a question mark about why you should be doing this”.
Durham Debating Union declined to say just what part of Robinson’s recent speech in the Netherlands was deemed objectionable when asked for comment by Breitbart London.
During his speech to PEGIDA in the Netherlands, Mr Robinson gave his support to the movement: “I’ve sat for the past 18 months and watched PEGIDA grow. And I now realise – from everyone here today – Europe is now ready. Now is the moment and now is the time!” he said.
The mainstream British press has reported this as Mr Robinson giving his support to street protest movements generally, including EDL. However speaking to Breitbart London this afternoon, he said:
“I’m not getting behind the EDL, I’m not rejoining the EDL. There’s been a lot a speculation, even people asking me that… I didn’t even know this, but there are people asking me if I’m speaking at an EDL demo in Bradford soon. I’m not.”
He added: “I can still see where we went wrong with the EDL… experiencing what I did with PEGIDA in Dresden, I know that that is where a demonstration needs to be: Passive, completely passive and peaceful, but making their voices heard.”
Robinson added: “The speech I was going to give is the same speech I gave to Harrow school. They sent me a message saying that was the best-received speech they’ve ever had. It’s an hour and a half, and it’s simply me talking about free speech.
“It’s me giving a full insight into what happened between me, the police and the state and all the things that have done to stop my freedom of speech – and then Durham have gone and silence me anyway.”
Mr Robinson said he wanted to reveal that approaches had been made “from security services and about the level of persecution and blackmail” he claims were aimed at him.
“…In my speech I’ve got bail forms, I’ve got recording… I’ve got in black and white a complete print out from the [Independent Police Complains Commission] saying that the reason I was arrested on a certain date was to stop me joining the Scottish Defence League.
“I’ve got the whole thing in black and white. Them saying they’re sending their officers on training programs and this should never have happened. But it did happen, and the reason it happened was because they want to shut me up.
“That’s what the speech is about – this is political policing.”