Charles Walker questions the Home Office’s failure to promote and defend freedom of expression

Charles Walker questions the failure of the Home Office to promote and defend freedom of expression, citing lack of support for gymnast Louis Smith who has been subjected to a manhunt and vilification on social media and suspended by British Gymnastics after a video was released showing the athlete making fun of Islam.

Freedom of Expression (Religious Satire)

Mr Charles Walker (Broxbourne) (Con)

12. What legal protections are in place to protect people’s freedom of expression with regard to religious satire. [907626]

The Secretary of State for the Home Department (Amber Rudd)

Freedom of speech and religion are core values that make our country great. They are, indeed, protected in law. What is or is not a joke, or what constitutes satire, is, I believe, in the eye or ear of the beholder and is not, perhaps, for Government to opine on.

Mr Walker

Why did the Home Secretary and her Ministers not give voice to those principles during the manhunt and vilification of the gymnast Louis Smith?

Amber Rudd

One of the first actions that I took when I came to office in July was to publish a hate crime action plan, to which I refer my hon. Friend. It enables anybody who is the victim of any sort of hate crime, which I think is what he is referring to, to have the confidence to report what is going on and to make sure that the police take action so that they do not feel singled out and abused.

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