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.