Exeter Cathedral says no thanks

Carl Benjamin told to stay away.

Exeter Cathedral has banned a Ukip candidate from taking part in hustings for Thursday’s European elections, saying he may be a risk to public order.

Carl Benjamin, who is under police investigation for comments he made about raping the Labour MP Jess Phillips, had been due to speak at the event alongside other candidates for the South West England region on Wednesday evening.

But the cathedral authorities decided Benjamin’s presence ran the risk of public disorder, and invited Ukip to send another candidate to the event.

Oh but what about his free speech?

Ukip’s Devon chair, Margaret Dennis, said the move was “outrageous” and “an affront to democracy”.

She told DevonLive: “The hustings are either open for the public to discuss and debate or it is an attempt to censor and restrict an opportunity to hear a range of views at this election.”

There is “range of views” and then there is “I wouldn’t even rape you.” The latter isn’t a “view,” it’s verbal abuse.

She said Benjamin was “an articulate and intelligent advocate not only for our party but for free speech”.

Who has singled out a woman MP for repeated sexual taunting. That’s not “advocacy for free speech,” it’s repeated sexual taunting. Free speech is not dependent on encouraging misogynist men to taunt women MPs. Free speech can survive without Carl Benjamin’s bullying of women.

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