Theresa May Condemned University Safe Spaces Today During PMQs

Theresa May has criticised the culture of “safe spaces” on campuses, and argued that universities should be a place for “open debate”.

She implied safe spaces threaten the UK’s ability to “develop as a country, as a society, [and] as an economy.” 



At PMQs Wednesday, the Prime Minister agreed with Victoria Atkins MP, who claimed safe spaces stifle freedom of speech, and speak to “a sense of righteous entitlement” in the “minority of students” who support them.

Conservative MP Atkins said:

“Freedom of speech is a fundamental British value which is undermined by so-called safe spaces in our universities, where a sense of righteous entitlement by a minority of students means that their wish not to be offended shuts down debate.

“As students around the country return to their places of learning at the start of this academic year, do you agree that university is precisely the place for lively debate and the fear of being offended must not trump freedom of speech?”



May responded: “I absolutely agree with you. We want our universities not just to be places of learning, but to be places where there can be open debate which is challenged and people can get involved in that.”

The PM went on to say “I think everyone is finding this context of safe spaces quite extraordinary frankly.

“We want to see that innovation of thought taking place in our universities – that’s how we develop as a country, as a society, as an economy, and I absolutely agree with you.”

Many were outraged by May’s criticism of safe spaces.

And suggested Atkins and May did not understand what they were.

Whilst others agreed that they hinder academia, or are an unrealistic expectation of some students.

Do you agree with Theresa May? 

Are safe spaces in universities a bad thing?

  • Yes
  • No