Tory Party’s ‘free speech’ stance questioned as prominent politician removed from Braverman speech

Andrew Boff is removed from the Conservative Party Conference

The Tory Party’s stance on ‘free speech’ is being questioned by critics after prominent conservative politician Andrew Boff was forcibly removed from Suella Braverman’s speech.

Braverman had been speaking at this week’s Conservative Party conference in Manchester when London Assembly Chair Andrew Boff made some quiet comments in disagreement with the home secretary.

Braverman had been speaking about the potential for Britain to “go properly woke” under Keir Starmer with “highly controversial ideas” like “gender ideology, white privilege, and anti-British history.”

Shortly after he was heard calling Braverman’s comments “trash” and asserting that there was “no such thing as gender ideology”, Boff was surrounded by security staff and forced to leave the auditorium.

Andrew Boff is removed from the Conservative Party Conference.
Top Tory Andrew Boff has accused Braverman of “bullying” the LGBTQ+ community. (Getty Images)

Footage of Boff’s removal from the conference quickly went viral, leaving many viewers – including a number of conservative MPs – baffled.

In most political settings, particularly events like the Conservative Party conference, it is typical to see a bit of back-and-forth between politicians. So the rather heavy-handed response to Boff’s quiet comments has sent shockwaves through the Tory party and beyond.

You may like to watch

The incident has sparked questions among the public about exactly how pro-free speech the Tory party really is.

Taking to X (the social media platform formerly known as Twitter), one person commented: “Andrew Boff, an elected Tory in London, and chair of LGBT Conservatives has been kicked out for (very quietly) ‘heckling’ Suella Braverman. This is the party against cancel culture and in favour of free speech, is it?”

A second asserted that “the Tory party can no longer claim to be the party of free speech.”

And another viewer wondered: “Re Andrew Boff being kicked out of Braverman’s speech; why is it so heavy-handed? And why are the Police getting involved? He’s an elected Conservative Rep, and a senior one too. Free speech etc.. or is that only a tag reserved for GB News?”

Even Braverman herself took to social media after her speech to say that, although she thought Boff’s comments were “silly”, he should have been “forgiven and let back into the conference.”

Boff’s forced removal from the home secretary’s speech comes less than 24 hours after Tory party members used their speeches at the Conservative Party conference to champion “free speech” broadcaster GB News.

Former Home Secretary Priti Patel commended the channel, currently being investigated by Ofcom, for being the “newest, most successful, most dynamic, no-nonsense news station, and the defenders of free speech.”

Meanwhile, it was media outlets like BBC, ITV, and Channel 4 who gave Andrew Boff and his colleagues a platform to speak after he was ousted from Braverman’s speech.

“The home secretary said some things which I found quite objectionable, I consider them bullying, I consider them bullying trans people and the LGBT community,” Boff told ITV News.

“I was born and brought up that when you see a bully you challenge them and that’s what I was doing and I challenged her.

“It is a signal to people who don’t like people who are LGBT+ people. Words like that in the forum of the party that I love need to be challenged.”

Please login or register to comment on this story.