Lord Carey: Free speech is under 'exceptional attack'

(Photo: Simon P Caldwell)

Former Archbishop of Canterbury Lord Carey has told Christian Today that free speech is "under exceptional attack" in the UK.

His comments come in the wake of news that his picture may be removed from the Strand campus of King's College London (KCL) at the request of gay rights activists.

"If this is indeed under discussion in the university, I am entirely relaxed about their approach to publicity on their building. I am a Fellow of King's College and that is more important to me than peering out of a wall onto the Strand," Lord Carey said in an email to Christian Today yesterday.

"My greatest concern is what this says about the status of free speech in the universities especially in a period when it is under exceptional attack. I would imagine there is considerable diversity of views on same sex marriage among the alumni of King's, yet the great values of this institution, like other universities, is that different views are listened to, argued with and respected and the human rights of all are upheld, including those of the lesbian and gay community."

Lord Carey is a distinguished KCL alumnus, but has been targeted by the University's LGBT association for his views on gay marriage, of which he has been an outspoken opponent. In 2012, students described his statement at a Conservative party fringe event that "Same sex relationships are not the same as heterosexual relationships and should not be put on the same level" as "outdated, hurtful and offensive".

KCL's LGBT student council officer Ben Hunt told the university's Roar News: "The [university] principal has asked me to compile a list of new alumni for the window in suggestions.

"[This] will also mean the removal of Lord Carey and the inclusion of minorities in the discussions for new alumni."

A spokesperson for KCL said: "It is likely, subject to planning approval, that the proposed redevelopment of the Strand campus will require a review of the Strand windows and we will consider the diverse views of our students, staff and alumni at the appropriate time."