Voters care about free speech, poll finds

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A new poll has found that most voters support free speech and the freedom to disagree.

Just days before the UK goes to the polls in the general election, a survey by CARE has found that three quarters of the population (77%) believe that "politicians should be able to speak their minds and freely debate difficult issues".

The survey was carried out by Savanta on behalf of the Christian charity and polled the views of 2,054 UK adults. 

Commenting on the findings, CARE CEO Ross Hendry called on politicians to work to protect free speech and debate in the next parliament.

"Difference and disagreement are part and parcel of politics. It's important for politicians to robustly debate different issues to ensure good, democratic outcomes," he said.

"Yet, it does seem harder for people to disagree agreeably than in years gone by. Party leaders and others must seek to restore civility, decency, and good debate to our political discourse.

"We want to see free and fair debate, where people's views on a whole range of important topics are expressed with humility and respect, and where a plurality of views are allowed.

"At CARE, we believe that free speech, tempered by civility and mutual respect, is a powerful force for good. We'd urge all politicians to commit to this in the next parliament."

Voters across the UK will cast their votes on 4 July. Latest polling shows Labour continuing to maintain a significant lead over the Tories, but thousands fear they will not be able to vote after reports of delays to postal balots. 

According to recent analysis in the Financial Times, Labour could win a record 450 seats.