Keir Starmer's LGBT hate crime crackdown risks undermining free speech

Keir Starmer speaks to media in Bedfordshire

Keir Starmer would 'undermine free speech' with new laws, report claims

Georgia Pearce

By Georgia Pearce

Published: 23/08/2023

- 13:20

Report claims a Labour government would threaten free speech on gender critical views

A Labour government would introduce ‘hate speech’ legislation which has “serious implications for freedom of speech", it has been claimed.

The Institute for Economic Affairs (IEA) think tank today published a report investigating the debate on controversial issues such as gender identification laws, female-only spaces in hospitals and single-sex sports, among others.

It comes after Labour has previously pledged to impose tougher sentences on those who commit hate crimes targeted at someone’s “sexual identity, transgender identity or disability”.

Leader Sir Keir Starmer previously spoke on the issue in October 2022, telling those attending the PinkNews Awards ceremony that the party will legislate punishment for alleged hate crimes against the transgender community.

Labour Party attend London Pride parade

Labour has previously pledged to introduce 'tougher hate crime laws'


He said at the time: “It’s time for tougher hate crime laws so every LGBT+ crime is treated as an aggravated offence”.

Influential activist groups such as Stonewall and Mermaids advocate for gender critical views to be criminalised under new ‘hate speech’ laws.

Free speech campaigners have claimed the comments imply this could potentially lead to prosecutions for simply misgendering someone.

The report, entitled “Transgender ideology: A new threat to liberal values”, suggests the debate on transgender issues poses a threat to “liberal society”.

Institute for Economic Affairs’ Marc Glendening authored the report, claiming that the freedom for individuals to express an opinion on trans issues is “under serious threat”.

He added: “Just as people have a right to affirm whatever sex and gender identity they so choose, in a truly liberal society others must enjoy the equal right to articulate their positions on transgenderism.

A philosophical line in the sand needs to be drawn in this regard if the drift towards authoritarianism is to be halted.”

Conservative MP for Hastings and Rye, Sally-Ann Hart, spoke in favour of the report.

Sir Keir Starmer and Anas Sarwar visit a distillery in Edinburgh

The report claims Labour's laws would have 'serious implications for freedom of speech'


She said: “We need to be able to talk about what it means to be male or female without being silenced.

Lawful speech about sex and gender is not hateful or transphobic and we must not allow trans-ideology to trump common sense.

Whilst we all have a duty to be respectful and civil to all people – including transgender people – individuals must retain the right to speak out their belief that sex is a biological fact.”

A Labour source branded the Institute for Economic Affairs’ report “nonsense”.

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