Debate in the Welsh Assembly Must Not be Silenced

Keep Debate Free Debate in the Welsh Assembly


Debate in the Welsh Assembly Must Not be Silenced

380 people have signed. Help us reach 500 signatures.

Debate in the Welsh Assembly Must Not be Silenced

On the 13th of December 2017, UKIP AM Gareth Bennett was barred from speaking in Senedd debates in 2018 following a speech about transgender rights.

Open criticism of transgender ideology is apparently not permitted in the Welsh Assembly

The Presiding Officer, Elin Jones, gagged Mr Bennett throughout 2018 until he apologises saying that “Some of his comments were particularly hateful to the transgender community.”

What assembly rules did Mr Bennett break? We have not been told.

It seems his crime was offending the temperament of Ms Jones and nothing more.

What were Mr Bennett’s hateful comments?

“There is only so much deviation from the norm that any society can take before that society completely implodes, and if we carry on down this road of appeasing the nuttiest elements of the transgender movement, then what we will face as a society, within a very short space of time, is total implosion.”

Whether or not these comments were “hateful” is up to you to decide, but you should be greatly concerned when a democratically elected politician can be banned from speaking for violating political correctness.

After initially refusing to apologise, Mr Bennett this week said “I refer to the point of order that was raised with you on 13 December last year. I’m sorry that people took offence at what I said…”

While Mr Bennett is now permitted to speak at Assembly debates, it is deeply concerning that an elected member of the Welsh Assembly there to represent the concerns of his constituents can be prevented from speaking because certain Assembly Members do not like what he has to say.

Please sign this petition to Elin Jones AM, the Presiding Officer who gagged Mr Bennett, demanding to know what Assembly rules Mr Bennett broke that justifies his gagging. If there were no rules broken, Ms Jones owes Mr Bennett an apology for the abuse of her authority as Presiding Officer.

Free debate must be permitted to take place within our UK Parliaments. To prevent others from speaking on the grounds of offence sets a very dangerous precedent which can be easily abused to silence one's political opponents.

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In Regard to Mr Bennett's Being Barred From Speaking in 2018

Dear Elin Jones AM,

I am dismayed to learn that last month during a Senedd debate, you barred UKIP AM, Gareth Bennett, from speaking in 2018 following a speech about transgenderism.

It is unclear on which assembly rule you used to censor Mr Bennett other than your own subjective perception that his comments were hateful.

Again, it is not clear what this means other than that you found them offensive and have taken offense on behalf of others whom you believe might have been offended.

Either way, your actions are deeply authoritarian, are a serious and arbitrary abuse of power and represent a serious threat to freedom of expression.

Mr Gareth Bennett is a democratically elected Assembly Member whom you gagged through the arbitrary abuse of your power. I am aware that this bar has been lifted yet I still demand to know on what grounds it was enacted in the first instance.

I demand to know on what grounds you gagged this AM; if he broke no Assembly rules, you owe Mr Bennett and the Assembly an apology for this apparent abuse of your authority; and I want your assurance that Assembly Members will not be silenced simply for making what you consider to be distasteful comments.

[Your Name]

Debate in the Welsh Assembly Must Not be Silenced

Sign this petition now!

380 people have signed. Help us reach 500 signatures.