Kate Forbes: ‘Scots are fed up of being intimidated into self-censorship’

Christian MSP and former SNP leadership candidate Kate Forbes has said the public backlash against attempts to shut down free speech in Scotland is increasing.

Speaking at think-tank Reform Scotland’s online event ‘No-platforming versus Freedom of Speech’, the MSP for Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch told fellow panellists including Joanna Cherry KC MP that she was “quite amazed and heartened” by the support she received after being attacked for upholding biblical sexual ethics.

Forbes said that, even though there is a “culture of fear that is suppressing the opportunity to have a fair free debate”, the majority in Scotland are becoming increasingly “fed up of being scared and intimidated by seeing what public figures are subject to”.

‘Dangerous for democracy’

She reflected: “I certainly received support from very unexpected places, support from people who fundamentally disagreed with me on every single front and yet said that they believed I deserved to be heard”.

The MSP noted that scrutiny of public figures is important, but cautioned that “you can’t scrutinise that which will not be heard” so “defending scrutiny means defending freedom of speech especially if you believe in the truth”.

She warned that if the culture of fear prevails then it’s “very dangerous for democracy and good law”, which has “serious implications for all of us”.


Earlier this month, an Edinburgh Fringe venue reversed its decision to ‘no-platform’ Joanna Cherry KC MP over her belief in the reality of biological sex and apologised.

The Stand Comedy Club admitted its decision to axe ‘In Conversation with Joanna Cherry’ was unfair and reinstated the show after the prominent gender critic threatened court action.

In a substantive legal opinion for the Edinburgh South West MP, Aidan O’Neill KC concluded that ‘The Stand’ had unlawfully discriminated against Cherry because of her views on gender identity and was in breach of the Equality Act 2010.

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