Gopal has asked that the Government step in to defend her academic freedom Wikimedia Commons

Priyamvada Gopal, an English Professor at Churchill, has had her invitation to speak to civil servants at the Home Office for Black History Month withdrawn. 

The cancellation came at the weekend, after Guido Fawkes, an online news blog, uncovered tweets from earlier this year (13/2) that tied Priti Patel’s Ugandan Asian family background - Asians who worked for the British in Africa - to the Home Secretary's “anti-black attitudes”. 

Writing on Twitter, Gopal said: “Priti Patel is also a reminder that many Asians in British Africa had ferociously anti-black attitudes and were used by colonial administrations to keep black populations in their place. An attitude she brings to government.”

Gopal, who was involved in a research group looking into the racial legacy of Winston Churchill, was due to speak to civil servants about the Home Office’s recent colonial history - particularly the Windrush scandal

Guido Fawkes claims that an anonymous Home Office source said that the invitation was “cancelled for her having racist views.” 

In response, Gopal says her free speech is under attack, demanding that the Department of Education come to her defence since they claim to value academic freedom. She has called on the Universities minister, Michelle Donelan, to look into the reasons behind the cancellation. 


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Gopal said: “I’ve been cancelled because of pressure by a partisan group, I understand that you are invested in freedom of speech, please help me.” 

Donelan has a record of defending academic freedom. Writing in The Times this week, Donelan defended Kathleen Stock, a Sussex university Professor who has been the target of protests because of her views on gender identity. “Without free speech, and the right to offend, how much longer may we have had to wait for enfranchisement for all, religious freedom, or equality before the law?”. 

In light of this, Gopal has asked that Donelan “defend academic freedom consistently.”