Stop The War Coalition to stage University College London protest ahead of 'secretive' Tony Blair speech

 

Anti-war campaigners have criticised a leading university over a “secretive” speech being made by former prime minister Tony Blair.

The Stop The War Coalition said hundreds of people will stage a protest outside University College London tomorrow.

Mr Blair is due to speak alongside former Labour defence secretary John Reid and Education Secretary Michael Gove.

The event is being held to mark the launch of the Institute for Security and Resilience Studies, which the university said was an independent research institute.

The venue of the event is not being publicised, which has drawn criticism from anti-war activists.

Lindsey German, convenor of The Stop The War Coalition said: "The secrecy surrounding tomorrow's event shows that even the organisers understand the contempt in which Tony Blair is held by many people in Britain.

"They try to hide the location of his latest warmongering effort, but they cannot hide the lies and deceit which Blair used to take us to war in Iraq.

"It is a shameful day for UCL. What genius came up with the idea that these people should be lecturing the rest of us on war and peace?

A UCL spokesman said: "This event is being held under the auspices of the ISRS, an independent research institute and not-for-profit company. It is affiliated to UCL in a manner similar to other organisations such as the IFS.

"They are responsible for the conference, and no funding, facilities or accommodation for the conference have been requested from or are being provided by UCL. The conference is not taking place at UCL.

"As an institute devoted to learning, UCL values freedom of speech highly and encourages the widest possible expression of differing views, within the law. We do not operate a policy of barring speakers with controversial views.

"This does not imply institutional endorsement or disagreement of any views expressed."

Labour MPs Jeremy Corbyn and and John McDonnell have tabled a Commons motion voicing concern at the invitation to Mr Blair to speak at the event.

PA

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