Former Archbishop issues ‘free speech’ warning over university’s plans to remove his picture

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The former Archbishop of Canterbury has issued a warning about free speech, over plans to remove a picture of him at King’s College London following pressure from LGBT campaigners.

King’s alumnus Lord Carey had been featured on the side of a building at the Strand campus entrance for several years, alongside other notable alumni including Desmond Tutu.

However, campaigners raised concerns about the message it sends due to the Archbishop’s long record of opposing gay rights, tabling an amendment to ‘wreck’ the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill in the House of Lords.

It was reported earlier this week that the university plans to ‘refresh’ the area, and replace the pictures with a more diverse range of alumni.

Lord Carey told the Telegraph he would be concerned for “free speech” if the picture is removed.

He said: “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.

“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.”

KCL is yet to confirm whether the picture will be removed.

Campaigners have been pressing for the change for a number of years, with Peter Tatchell backing the campaign in 2012.

Lord Carey was roundly criticised in 2012, after an apparent comparison between opponents of equal marriage and Jews during the Holocaust.

The former Archbishop said previously: “Same sex relationships are not the same as heterosexual relationships and should not be put on the same level.”