AN ARTIST who had her talk at Oxford Brookes University cancelled at the last minute after students from the LGBTQ+ society accused her of holding anti-trans views welcomed a new 'free speech' legislation.

Rachel Ara has now spoken out on the new plans unveiled this week.

The university's LGBTQ+ society sent a letter to its pro-vice chancellor condemning the invitation to the artist because of her 'frequently shared transphobic discourse on social media'.

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Under the new plans announced by education secretary Gavin Williamson academics and visiting speakers, who have been expelled, dismissed or demoted, would be able to seek compensation through the courts.

In addition, a new free speech condition will be placed on universities in order to be registered and access public funding, and the higher education regulator in England, the Office for Students (OfS), will have the power to impose fines in the case of breaches.

For the first time the free speech duty will also apply directly to student unions, which will be required to take steps to ensure free speech for their members as well as speakers.

The artist commented: "Academic institutions have a duty to promote learning and an open debate.

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"Too many women have been silenced and called transphobic because we are feminists.

"I welcome this law – it is time institutions are held responsible for silencing women."

A couple of months after being 'cancelled' Ms Ara threatened legal action against the university, which claimed that her talk was only 'postponed'.

However, Ms Ara added: "I cannot see the point of suing if there is legislation in place to ensure this does not happen again. If it is not enforced, then I would consider taking action, but only to set a precedent."

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