The former head of one of Britain’s two main security services has admitted that some of her nation’s security polices are jeopardizing free speech in Britain.
Baroness Eliza Manningham-Buller, former head of Britain’s spy agency MI5 has come out to say that she does not support new anti-terror measures which will force universities to restrict the speech and actions of radical Muslims on campus.
Lady Manningham-Buller, director general of the Security Service until her retirement eight years ago, said the government’s proposals could “jeopardise” the Government’s anti-terror programme, known as Prevent.
The former spy chief said: “This is potentially in conflict with the university’s existing obligations to protect free speech, something we are all concerned about.
“My instincts are very often in support of the Government on these sort of subjects, knowing that countering terrorism is not straightforward.
“However, the doubts that I expressed … about putting Prevent, whatever its importance, on a statutory footing, in particular with regard to universities, have not been assuaged by anything that I have heard.”
Under Mrs May’s plans universities will have a statutory duty to prevent extremism taking place on their property.
It is a fine line between security and free speech, for sure, one that western nations need to come to grips with to stay in keeping with having a free and open society.