Father Ted writer Graham Linehan DEMANDS answers after attempt to cancel his appearance at free speech event

​Graham Linehan

Graham Linehan's pass application was initially rejected

Dan Falvey

By Dan Falvey

Published: 01/10/2023

- 18:00

A pass was only granted after the Tory party chairman personally intervened

Father Ted writer Graham Linehan told Tory members he has demanded answers after he was initially denied access to the Conservative Party Conference in Manchester.

The Irish sitcom writer was ironically had his request for a pass for the conference rejected when invited to speak at an event titled: "Is the UK a safe space for free speech?"

Linehan has been an outspoken critic of the trans rights movement, accusing those who are in favour of letting children change gender of "grooming".

In August he struggled to find a venue that as willing to host his comedy show, produced by GB News' Andrew Doyle, at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival over his views.

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And embarrassingly, the popular writer only secured his attendance at the Conservative conference this week after the party's chairman was forced to step in.

Addressing the free speech event Linehan said that he feared his trans views were responsible for his initial pass application being rejected - and he blamed the police.

He told the audience: "I almost didn't make it here because I was refused accreditation by the police.

"I had to pull some strings and make some calls to finally be allowed in.


"I've submitted a data access request - a subject access request - to find out why. But I imagine it's either because of Stonewall training or because a number of particularly venomous trans rights activists have reported me for spurious charges of transphobia."

In 2018 Linehan received a warning from West Yorkshire Police over an argument he had with a transgender activist online.

No reason for the failure to give accreditation has been provided.

However, applications for accreditation to the Conservative conference are done in collaboration with the police.

A subject access request gives individuals the right to access and receive a copy of their personal data, and other supplementary information held by an organisation.

After Linehan's application was denied, Hands was forced to look into the case and take personal action to ensure that he could still attend.

It is the writer's first time at the party conference, having previously admitted to being left wing.

Greater Manchester Police say they do not comment on accreditation.

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