Page last updated at 15:39 GMT, Wednesday, 6 May 2009 16:39 UK

Should people be barred from the UK?

US radio presenter Michael Savage in California (03 December 2007)
US radio presenter Michael Savage has been barred from entering Britain
A conservative US radio host has said he will sue the UK for defamation after being placed on a list of people banned from entering Britain.


Michael Savage, real name Michael Alan Weiner, is one of 22 people barred for fostering extremism or hate.

Mr Weiner said he opposed violence and objected to being linked to murderers.

Home Secretary Jacqui Smith has said coming to the UK should be a privilege and that granting free speech did not provide a licence to preach hatred.

This debate is now closed. You can read a selection of your comments below.


We are having serious technical problems with the usual Have Your Say service which our engineers are working to fix. We apologise for any inconvenience.


A selection of your comments:

This isn't a freedom of speech issue. It's an issue of not having foreign hatemongers entering our country with the intention of stirring things up. We have enough people here doing that already. Also, various US posters here do realise that their own country effectively does exactly the same thing, yes? Your nation is just less honest about it.
Bob's Uncle, Southport, UK

Government immigration policy: Ban 22 people, everyone else, come on in. How about setting limits on immigration and deporting illegals - instead of this gimmick.
Trebullie, London

How can Jacqui Smith even say free speech while keeping a straight face, speech is not free if there are constraints to it, like the constraints that this government have placed on it for 12 years, the idea of free speech has became a bad joke in this country. Get out Jacqui.
DS

I suggest setting up a fund to assist Michael Savage in taking court action against the idiotic Home Secretary. It might help to get rid of her and the Govt.
M. Cawdery, Portadown Co. UK

This guy has a large following in the US but was unknown in Europe and the UK until he was given this publicity.

If the Home Sec has examples of his extremism/hate preaching..under UK/Euro laws, not US laws...admit him on a limited visa with a warning. If he offends, kick him out and prosecute the media outlets who give him a platform to break our laws. If he succeeds in litigation under US defamation laws...but not ours, tell him and the US courts to go whistle for a compensation payment.
Ken, Merseyside UK

Of course people should be barred. Especially if they do encourage hate or extremism. Every one should stop being scared and just act for once
Sam Smith, Whitlesey, Cambs

I doubt if many people on this HYS have ever heard Michael Savage, and if they did given the views expressed daily I doubt they would disagree with him on many points. There has been a general assumption that he must be awful which shows just how dangerous Smith's actions are. He is at odds with the Government's views not Britons in general - you've all been suckered by this.
Mark in Sheen, Richmond

Free speech is rarely really free. "What a lovely spring morning!" must always be free. N words, just ordinary Latin words hurt people and disparaging words about Jews have done worse in my lifetime and we should be noble enough to leave them alone. Anyone who constantly shows nasty manners or commits crimes should not be allowed in the country or should be sent home. Equally so those who corrupt the youth of London.
Rosemary Alabaster, Assisi Italy

"Why ban these people? Just ignore them." The problem is that there are weak willed people who do not ignore them, and lap up the nonsense they spout, spreading the hate around.
D, Hull

Yes and why not? I have just returned from the USA and having gone through there customs checks and questions of all criminal history along with what I wanted to do there. I do not believe we should open our borders to just anybody. If they do not like our customs and practices, now wish to give to society, we do not need them
Len Gilbank, Eastbourne

Further evidence that free speech has been replaced with political correctness.
Moz, Burton Staffs

I'm probably about as liberal as they get, and I truly agree with Voltaire when he said 'I may not approve of what you say but I will defend to the death your right to say it'. I do not believe Savage should have been put on the same level as the people on this list - many of these are violence inciting murders. Michael Savage is little more than an attention seeking DJ. However, I can't help but notice how his tone changed from what he said on his own show to the interview he gave that is now on the BBC website. But by banning him, the government has given him a megaphone.
Melanie, Hertfordshire

This is the price we pay for free speech, people are going to say things we don't like. .
Stephen Logan, Glasgow

Banning someone for their "extremist" views, eh? Trouble is, what one person might consider to be "extremist", another person might consider to be "religion". By following these rules that Labour are setting down, even the Pope would be banned from entering the UK!
Toby Johnson, Hastings, England

"Free speech" does not mean you can say anything you like. There is an implied acceptance of certain standards of civilised behaviour. Under your rules, you could make the most appallingly offensive remarks to someone and justify them as free speech. Some people can only respond violently to such behaviour, and that is the problem. You are inciting someone to commit an offence.
Tom, Exeter, UK

I believe the UK has every right to ban whomever they want from entering the country. The restrictions placed on freedom of speech and thought are for the British citizens to accept or reject as they deem appropriate. It appears to me that they are more than willing to give up their freedoms in the interest of being perceived as politically correct by the rest of the world.
Mac, Orlando, FL

A visa is a permit to visit a nation. We have people that we choose to not allow a visit. It's within a nation's right to say who may enter. Unfortunately for us he's our citizen and we have to allow him to stay. We allow him to broadcast as much as he'd like. Although I'd like to place order to remove him from the airwaves. That too is his right. Bravo to the UK.
Clifton, San Diego, USA

The question is 'Why specifically Michael Weiner?' What is he saying that is so different from countless other talk show hosts across the US and other countries? Walk into any pub in the UK and there's someone with an opinion like his and someone else with the opposite view.
Dom, Plymouth

No-one has a right to enter Britain and it is up to us who we let in. Like The Pub Landlord says: "My gaff, my rules".
Dominic Kearney, Manchester

I do not agree with most of Mr. Weiner's views, but if free speech is to exist in the UK or elsewhere, he must be free to express them anywhere.
James Smith, João Pessoa, Brazil

I may not agree with Michael Savage or Pastor Fred Phelps views but would certainly not deny them the right voice them. This is the price we pay for free speech, people are going to say things we don't like or find ourselves opposing.
Stephen Logan, Glasgow

Why ban these people? Just ignore them. If the news reporters and channels just ignore the coming of people who preach hatred no one will know about it, no one will care. The people will feel a bit silly and they'll just return to their homes.
Liz Mawson, Bristol, UK

Who does Smith think she is to tell us what we should or should not hear? We can pass our own judgement on views thank you very much. Yet more signs of this government treating its citizens with contempt. Nothing but a publicity stunt I say.
Chris, Cambridge, UK

Going to any Country is a privilege. Free speech should be what it states. However, if an individual poses a threat - violent or financial to the country then they should not be allowed in.
Joanne, UK

Even freedom of speech requires moderation. As a citizen of this country, I am happy that our government is actively preventing bigots from entering. It sends a clear message: we will not tolerate prejudice and it has no place in British society.
Malcolm, Liverpool, UK

I have heard the Michael Savage radio show before, and I must say that while I disagree, he in no way advocates violence.
Joseph Miller, Sydney, Australia

People who come wielding a pen, not a sword, should under no circumstance be banned from entering the country because of the opinions they hold. Unhampered freedom of speech is the cornerstone of democracy, one without which it can not exist.
Niels, N. Lincs, England

This list is far too short. We should ban everyone and then have a list of 22 people who can enter.
Lenny Dawson, Bradford, UK

I had never heard of Michael Savage/Weiner before the government decided to ban him from the UK. As a direct result of this ban, I now know who he is, what his views are, and the BBC has his website linked. More publicity than he could ever have hoped for.
Dom, London, England

Publically naming will just give more publicity. Otherwise I agree with JS on this one.
Karen, London

There's no issue in barring those who have serious criminal convictions from entering the UK, just as the US restricts those with drugs convictions etc, however minor, but what someone says, does or thinks, which is legal in their own country seems to be an unreasonable ground upon which to base our own refusal to admit someone - they're not subject to our law where they were and as long as they do not break our laws when visiting, is there a real issue here?
Grumpy Jack, Harwich, UK

No-one should be barred just because of what they think or say, but those who clearly intend to do harm or cause disruption to the UK and its citizens must be barred.
Mike, Ivybridge

The government has for once took a stand. It is up to them who is allowed into the country. It is a privilege not a right to gain access to any country if you are not a resident.
Steve, Harrogate

At a time when all around Europe borders are being torn down (at least internally), it baffles me that the UK, besides staying out of the Schengen area for all these years, is actually imposing more restrictions on entry. So what if Geert Wilders was elected as an MEP; would he still be banned from the UK somehow?
Argy, Greece

People should absolutely not be excluded from a free nation merely because of their views. Certainly it would be nice to surround yourself only with those you agree with, and on your private property you may. However, in a reasonable, fair and democratic society, the government has to right to in any way hinder nonviolent "extremists."
Dominic Blue, Lancaster, PA, USA

A nation that is confident in its democracy and culture should be able to withstand other viewpoints however abhorrent they may be.
Alan G, Sheffield, UK

If the government reorganises individuals who's ideology is at odds with that of the UK and indeed endangers our national security, then they have a duty to ensure that these people are kept out.
John H, Ayr, Scotland

Freedom of speech is critical to a democratic society. It doesn't matter whether the extremists cannot be reasoned with. What matters is whether the majority of society can be reasoned with. Democracy allows each and every citizen to choose which views they will espouse, and as soon as one view is suppressed by non-democratic means, the whole of the government is undermined.
David Freiberger, Cheney, Washington, USA

Means testing and comprehensive background checks have to be done at all times before allowed entry to the UK.
Katherine, Nicosia, Cyprus

The Home Secretary should have the final say on who is let into the UK. He is answerable to Parliament, he should not be answerable to any other court.
Michael Gover, Sheffield

I don't think anyone should be allowed in to Britain without a visa. Visas should be obtained in advance of boarding, and should fund the cost of policing entry. Not a tax payer, not a right of entry!
Richard Downing, Keswick, UK

Should a pub landlord be expected to allow a rowdy drunk into his establishment? Clearly not, and I see no difference between that and the subject under discussion.
Ross Rebbeck, Teignmouth Devon UK

Voicing an opinion is one thing and everyone should be entitled to do that. Advocating violence and hate is another thing and that is where the distinction should be made.
William Johnson-Smith, London, England

Entry into a foreign country is a privilege, not a right. If your views are anathema to the inhabitants of that country, why should they "have to" let you in? There is enough hatred and bile on the internet to satisfy all freedom of speech conditions, without inviting the perpetrators the country.
Jim, Buckinghamshire

Yes, we should ban undesirables. You would not invite somebody in your home to let them trash it and nor should we allow people in whose purpose is to destroy and attack others in the UK. We have a responsibility to protect the vulnerable whilst allowing responsible free speech.
Dennis McGeown, Muswell Hill, London

I believe in freedom of speech. The sign of a free society is that it allows all viewpoints to be heard. Any legislation restricting freedom of speech is dangerous. Who has the right to decide what we should be allowed to hear and what we shouldn't?
Daniel, Bristol, UK

It is dangerous to bar anybody, simply on the basis of what they say. Because someone has to decide what should not be said. Who should do this? The government?
David Butler, Glasgow, UK

Unless people have committed a crime, or have provably incited people to commit a crime, then they should be able to come here and say whatever they like, no matter how offensive. That's what freedom of speech means and if the government can stop anyone, the right is reduced to mere dispensation.
Mike Holmes, Edinburgh, Scotland

Excluding those whose views you disagree with is the act of a totalitarian state. People should be able to voice their opinions regardless of giving offence. In that way we can challenge, ridicule or ignore them as the will takes us. It would certainly expose the true nature of some religions and their followers.
John McIntyre, Liverpool, England

If someone has a 'track record' of preaching hate or extremist views, they should not be allowed in the UK in the first place. Why should they be let in and then insult the country and its people who are their hosts? Why should the decent hardworking people of this great country of ours wait until they have broken the law of the land before throwing them out?
Dazzer136, Hampshire

I think there are more than a few members of this government who could be usefully barred from this country.
David, Farnham

Anyone who thinks these people shouldn't be barred from the UK, should be barred from the UK.
Sam, Northants

This is a dangerous breach of long establish British human rights. Such decisions should be taken upon breaches of law in this country, not overseas. It allows the govt to ban someone merely for trying to visit his dying mother. Expulsion should be for breaking the law here.
Pete, London

Well I can see the UK is well on its path to emulate George Orwell's vision. Guess the USA wont be far behind.
Tony, Nashville, USA

So it's ok for people already in the country to have certain views, but not ok for foreigners holding the same views to enter the country? Freedom of speech really is dead in this country.
Steve W, Southampton, UK

So, what's new? I was arrested and held incommunicado in 1971 - entering the UK at Prestwick. Eventually released, I was ordered to be out of the country within 30 days. My crime? I was a leftwing activist opposing the US War in Vietnam. The only surprise about this new list is that it doesn't look like it's been vetted by the FBI. At least the names that have been made public.
Eideard, Santa Fe, NM, USA

Do you fear them so much that you feel they are a threat to your very society? Is your society so weak that it can not tolerate these people? Do you not have citizens whose views are just as radical? Barring them only gives them fuel for their hate and their followers. Embrace them and you have disarmed them.
Glen, Seattle, United States

I think we should keep out offensive and extremist people. We should not give these people the oxygen of publicity. Well done home secretary.
Barry Buttigieg, Croydon, UK

We should firstly try to understand what 'human rights' are and then act on them. Freedom of speech is a right that everyone is entitled to, not a tool to preach hatred and lies. This is why it is important to show 'extreme' prevention before hand.
Jamie, Stamford

Never mind the 16 to 22 who are not here and show hatred and extremism, lets put our resources into getting out the thousands of the same ilk that are already here.
Colin, Plymouth, UK

Yes I think we should have a right to NOT allow people like this into the country. BUT on the flipside, we have all thought negative thoughts about one or more person, it is just whether you choose to voice it to everyone else that you get in trouble for it.
Judy Copeland, Belfast

I believe that we should be sensible about this matter. If there is good ground for barring someone from entering the UK: and that could include extremists and/or such people, either known to have criminal records or a documented history of hatred or anti-British sentiments. However, the final say should still be with the courts in the UK, not bureaucrats at the Home Office. The right to appeal and prove their innocence should not be denied anyone.
Sophia Duvenant, Colchester, Essex

In a way yes, and another no. Yes if their ideologies create unwanted reactions among the people. No, because we all live in a free world where our vote and voices count in government activities.
Jason Olima, Nigeria

Can a country remain democratic if its Government controls voices of public opinion by force and restriction of freedoms?
Val Whyborn, Lowestoft, Suffolk

I would share the "all voices should be heard" opinion except these people do NOT believe any voices should be heard except theirs - so if I was British I'd favour banning them. A German teaching in an American college notes on his website that America's far-right is so extreme its members would be under government surveillance in Germany (as threats to democracy). The same should be true in America! These people have been doing everything possible to end the separation of church and state - even to the point of lying about the intents of the founding fathers. And they try to force science teachers to teach, as science, "creationism" as a valid "scientific" alternative to evolution - which they would bar from being taught if they could. They openly hope that the current Federal Government fails! Even in the USA, the younger members of their parties and churches are turning away from them in large numbers.
Mickey Cashen, Baltimore, Maryland, USA

You can preach as much hatred as you like but it will only be listened to if there are underlying problems. I am more worried by the people who want to restrict free speech, hiding behind inflammatory terms such as "racist" and bigot", than I am these crackpots.
Chris, London - England

Yes, they should be banned if there are good grounds for supposing they are only coming to stir up hatred or may otherwise be likely to break the law. We cannot put an additional burden on the forces of law and order and intelligence to keep them under surveillance. I'm not sure it's necessary to make their names public, though I can see it may be impossible for that not to happen.
John Holden-Peters, Conil, Spain

The Thought Police headed by Big Brother Jacqui Smith have finally taken over, only 25 years after George Orwell forecast. It seems free speech is only OK if you agree with Big Brother Jacqui Smith.
Jim Barin, Teesside

In the UK we believe in the principles of free speech so nobody should be banned for airing unpopular or unwelcome views. However, if they then say they are going to commit a criminal act or ask others to commit criminal acts, then that is clear grounds for not allowing them to enter the UK
B Godfrey, Exeter, UK

Then there'll be a Free Speech Tax! Ok if those wanting to enter are convicted criminals but if not they should be allowed in, especially those from the EU!
John A Gregory, Amsterdam, NL

Absolutely right. Trouble makers should stay in their own country. They do not even have any right to express their views!
Anne Gazelle , Geneva, Switzerland

More runaway nanny-statism. Why should Jacqui Smith dictate who I can and can't listen to? It is as if she thinks the public are too stupid to make up their own minds on these issues.
Phil, Manchester

Yes they should be barred. Why would they want to come here anyway if they disagree with our views. This is our country and we have the right to protect its values such as freedom of speech but this should not be misused.
D Avery, Bushey, UK

The government is now deciding what we can and cannot say. WOW. I don't mind what people say, but I do mind what people do. Why don't they focus on catching the bad guys and let people say what they want. They (MPs) got elected because of what they were free to say while campaigning.
Graham, Southampton

I think its right that these despicable people are kept out of our country. There have been arguments that these people should be allowed into the UK and prosecuted if they start preaching hatred. Why? Isn't it enough that they've already broken our laws on incitement to hatred? Why give them the opportunity to break the law? Why give them the opportunity to build support for their horrid agendas? This shouldn't even be reported in the news, it's totally wrong to give these people more publicity. I totally agree with Jacqui Smith when she says coming to the UK is a privilege and we should ALL respect that.
Richard Stewart, Birkenhead, UK

While it's true that we should protect the right to free speech, people like the Phelps family are extremists and don't represent the views of most of the Christian community. In the same way that Islamic extremists don't represent the views of the majority of Muslims. Therefore surely in some circumstances it's right to ban people from making such statements and if that means barring them from the country then it's the right thing to do. If members of the WBC gain entry to Britain how long will it take for them to be protesting at British military funerals?
Ryan, Southampton, Hampshire

It's not right that people are banned for their opinions. It's not right on freedom of speech grounds - but also from a practical perspective as it enables those individuals to accuse our government of banning free speech. However, at least publishing the names (assuming it's a full list) gives the electorate the chance to assess the government's judgment.
James Rigby, Wickford Essex

No absolutely not. We should not prevent people from entering the UK just because their opinions or "values" are not to the liking of the current government. Let them come, give their opinions and face public ridicule for them.
Tony Jarvis, Chester UK

People should be banned from our country if they are propagating extremist views. Just having those opinions is not enough to ban them, but how do we know they have these opinions anyway, unless they are propagating them and therefore causing unrest?
Nigel, London England

Let them come. Name them publicly and advertise widely their disgusting, extremist views. The BBC should then produce a daily itinerary of their movements and the public advised where to let them know what we think of them.
Chris Oldershaw, Ceredigion

Having read the list it does appear like this is aimed at the current batch of Islamic extremists with a few other individuals peppered around in a vain attempt to make it not look totally anti-Islamist. Free speech is free speech. All these people's words can get in via the internet so what's the point. Can I write to the government to add a few more as I can see some notable absentees?
David Burch, London

The UK is rightly proud of it's tradition of allowing freedom of speech and it's only right that this freedom is protected by preventing its abuse. The published list contains several people who have clearly indicated or already demonstrated their disregard for others appearing to be willing to promote their views regardless of consequence. On this occasion, well done to the government.
Wyndham Clampett, East Barnet, UK

I'd like to be barred from the UK. I want a job somewhere else and to leave, I have been trying for the last year without luck, hopefully this year I'll get a job offer.
Fred Habuckle, Rotherham, UK

Considering those who subscribe to the same views as these extremists can access them via a multitude of media and they can reach 1000's x more people via these means than they can publicly, I don't see the point....banning them is the tip of the iceberg. Freedom of speech should be allowed warts and all. Better knowing where they are and what thye are doing / saying and openly countering their views with rational and reasoned argument. Perhaps they should be assessed for mental illness instead as they appear to be sociopaths by proxy. Notice how 99% are men? Perhaps there is a correlation between holding such views and having very small genitals.
Realist, Lancashire

I totally agree with the government for barring the likes of Pastor Phelps into this country. Not all accept the differences we have in our cultures, religious convictions and sexual orientations, whether they live here or have the nerve to come preaching from another nation. Moreover, what gives him and the many other bigots and racists around the world the right to impose their beliefs and hateful desires? The action the government has taken proves we are moving forward in our tolerance of one and all and thankfully and in time, these groups of people will be few and far between.
Markus, Shropshire, United Kingdom

From the moment New Labour announced it would be hunting with hounds it was clear it stood against this country's liberal tradition. How ironic that the Muslim Council takes a more liberal position than the British government. We are no longer a land of the free, we a are a land of the PC.
Richard Roper, Weybridge, UK

Yes and No. Yes in that we should stop those who's words or actions will do us harm. And No because I don't trust Labour to get it right. We'll get Mums and Dads being barred because of something their kids once said to another kid in school. You know it'll happen because it already has with so many of Labour's half baked ideas that get implemented without proper due process.
Robert Bahrani, London, UK

I detest with passion a whole group of people, BUT, I will demand their right to express their views. Barring people for what they think and say is wrong. If others react violently, it is they not the speaker who should be prosecuted. However, I believe that there needs to be an easier method to export ALL undesirables after they commit specific offences.
Barry P, Havant

I support the barring of people who have engaged in, or are planning to engage in violent extremism from the country. However, "hate speech" should not be a crime. Barring people with extreme views undermines the basic principles of free speech. Instead, I think people can decide on their own whether to take such views seriously or not.
Phil, Lancashire

Upholding our right to free speech is a government function, just as is defending us against extremism and incitement to hatred and violence.

Sadly, the line between these is very blurred and somebody has the unenviable task of making the decision on which side of the line an individual falls. As the public, we need to be very clear how the decisions are being made and whether the decisions are just.

It is inevitable that some exclusion decisions will be seen as incorrect by some of us, just as the decisions to let some others enter will be seen as ludicrously liberal. However, such decisions are a necessary part of our democracy in my view. It surely is better than excluding somebody purely on the basis of a stamp in their passport as happens now in many middle eastern countries.
David, Bury

These people are preaching hate. What right have they to come into a peaceful country and stir up hatred with people who are different to them? Yes they should be banned.
Gillian Moore, Woodford Green

If someone has been tried and convicted of a criminal act then it is perfectly reasonable to restrict entry in the UK. However, just because we disagree with someone's view (however vile they are) it is no reason to ban them. The principal of free speech should not be eroded in this way!
Bev W, London, UK

Do these people actually WANT to come to the UK? I assume the hate preacher clowns want to, to spread their childish nonsense but does Fred Phelps care? It's certainly given him some more publicity -the 'most hated family in US' story was #1 read today because of his name being published. If we're going to bar these people entering the country, what about those already here that are preaching hatred and inciting trouble within communities? The list on that one is near endless...
Dean, Exeter

Yet another nail in the coffin of free speech in Britain. It is right to protect us from terrorism, but does that mean banning everyone who has visited, for argument's sake, Pakistan?

There's an attitude in government that Muslim clerics are encouraging radicalism, which is simply not true in the majority of cases. I would be interested to see what the parameters are for deciding who is banned from Britain.
Rebecca Bradbury, Exeter, UK

Seems like a good idea to me. But I am surprised we are even allowed to ban EU residents. Or is that court case and EU fine on its way?
Jim, Chelmsford UK

Anyone who has views which could be seen as anti-British should not be allowed in. Otherwise nothing wrong with airing your views
Colin Greenall, Newhaven Sussex

We all have the right to express our views but we also have to take responsibility for them and the consequences they bring. We often rant on about having freedom of speech and about our human rights - does that also mean we are free to disregard the rights of others?
Yikes, Aberdeen

Hmmm, I don't intend to befriend with those who are on the list but all the same they should be free to enter this country as they haven't broken any laws yet in this country. This system is becoming like the 'kangaroo' court that Stalin held during his reign. We're on the road towards totalitarianism - this should sound the alarm bells for all of us.
Daz, St Albans, UK

This is getting scary. A government minister is now deciding what is allowed to be said and what's not..
Kenny, Glasgow

Their names are published and you even list the reason they are barred. This is certainly better than the way the Americans are doing it. They could learn from this example. To make it even better, publish all the names, and reasons, and who made the decision to add the name to the list. This makes them responsible for their action, and helps reduce the instances of people being barred for silly reasons. It would be even better if there's a way to appeal the decision.
Mike Lee, Batu Caves, Malaysia

Free speech is all well and good if the mind and mouth that thinks and utters the words are uncluttered of hatred and intent on harm. We all have an opinion and a view and all like to be heard! But if we only want to be heard to spread hatred then the world is a sorry place. Some like to go about their daily lives in peace and harmony and for someone to hurt or maim them takes away their human rights. I agree that people who use power to hurt should be barred from the UK.
Carol, York England

Free speech is a black and white issue. Either speech is free, or it's not. You can't have people deciding what is free or not - because then its not free is it?
Rose Sco, Cornwall

"I disagree with what you say, but I will defend your right to say it" Some peoples' views, however obnoxious, should not be sole grounds for New Labour to bar them from entering the country. There must be an outlet in this country for people to air extreme views, given that our 'first past the post' electoral system effectively denies them a voice in the 'body politic' (Hence 'Speakers Corner). It is yet another tradition being destroyed by New Labour.
Alasdair Campbell, Bath UK

You know what drives support for the BNP? Spineless politicians who are more interested in Europe and international relations than their own people. I'm a skinhead, and i think white supermacism and racism is ridiculous. But I also don't want hate preachers on my door step and people offending our brave army. Racism and hate works both ways, and if people don't like our way of life (liberals included) then they shouldn't come here in the first place....but then again with handouts paid for by hard working everyday like you and me...I'm not surprised people come in their thousands. If you want to stop organisations like the BNP put the majority first and don't pander to minority groups with jobs, special services, homes, special funding so that everyone else has to go without. Racism is a disgrace, but this is not a race issue, its common sense and i think a lot of people are missing some of it these days.
Rick, St Helens, England

Absolutely, they should be barred if their views are gratuitously offensive. Yes, freedom of speech is a universal right, but it is a right these people can employ just as well on their own soil. Coming here to voice their opinions is not essential to their beliefs or our understanding of them.
Neil Hardie, Aberdeen, United Kingdom

No politician is sufficiently wise or honest to control what speech is permissible. I believe people should have the right to free speech, including abusive and offensive speech such as "Winston Churchill warned that Islam was a threat to the civilisation of modern Europe. We therefore need to get Islam out of this country before there is a civil war"
J English, UK

"If they are prepared to die for this country, they should be allowed to live in this country" is a strong guiding principle for those who live here and those who wish to come here. Freedom of speech and expression should be protected, but we should in no way accommodate ANYONE who is intolerant, extremist or who wishes to sow messages of hate, violence, intolerance, racism or any other ideology that is inherently anti-freedom.
Martin Callan, London

No, people should not be barred from the UK simply because of expressing their views. Unfortunately, under this Labour government, we have already gone a long way down the road of suppressing freedom of speech. Public expression of opinions that are merely subjectively racist, homophobic, or 'scare' the beholder, are already enough to get you into trouble with the law. This is designed to shutdown debate, and is the precursor to 'thought-crime'. Notice that only left-wing prejudices and tastes are protected which is obviously politically partisan. So, should a Tory government be allowed to ban public expressions of hatred for the rich? What next is to be banned? In a free society, anyone should have the right to offend with words, without fear of litigation.
Peter, Cambridge, UK

Yes. Entry into any country, other than one's own, is optional and a privilege, not compulsory and a right. They can and should be able to express their views, however abhorrent, remotely by local media though, in defence to this country's traditions of freedom of expression.
Muhammad Zaman, Oxford

The report that the names of the people barred from entering the UK for fostering extremism or hatred have been published for the first time seems and sounds good for any country of the world. However, I do not find myself agree with them being publicly named. People should be excluded because of their views finding no negativism. The government should only act if people have broken the law. Nevertheless, there can be other reasons too for barring people from the UK.
A.R.Shams, Pakistan

Yes I feel these people should be barred from entering the UK. These undesirables vent the anger against the vast majority of normal people. They aggravate violence and are proud to do so, they do not care about a united kingdom as they have their own agenda.
Stuart Millar, Gillingham, United Kingdom

No, I do not agree with them being named or in most cases barred in the first place. If they have not broken UK law while in the UK there can be no legitimate grounds for this. If these are to be banned, why is the Iranian prime minister not on the list, for example? This is thought police territory and has no place in our society whatsoever.
A Daily, London

Right, so out of the whole world, Labour has decided that only 22 people are unfit to come to Britain. It's not much of an immigration policy, is it?
Paul, Norwich

If coming to the UK is a privilege, why do we appear to throw open our doors to all and sundry who have not earned the privilege to be here, and yet those who have ie: the Gurkhas are having to fight tooth and nail to be allowed to stay. Double standards, from a double standards party, quit and let someone else have a go, you've failed.
Steve

I think this is a very good idea. I guess that the Parliamentary vote last week will mean that the Gurkhas wont be on the unwanted list now.
Steve Adkins, Chesham, England

Of course extremists should be barred from the UK. Whether they're Muslim or Christian extremists, we are a liberal country, and bigoted views simply aren't welcome here.
Edna Welthorp, Sandhurst

Only those with a criminal record of violence-related crimes should be barred. Others should be allowed to enter but prosecuted if they break any of our laws while in this country. Free speech is an essential part of our way of life; other wise those with unpalatable views will be driven underground and pose a much greater threat.
Tommy, Cardiff

We should send home or refuse entry to anyone we don't like the look of without giving any reason at all. If they get a parking ticket send them home. No trials. No questions. No answers just say goodbye. This country has totally lost the plot.
Greg Kendall, Barnsley

People should have a right to say what they think. Saying and doing are two different things. Tough luck if the government doesn't agree with their opinion. Freedom of speech is another right that has been eroded under Nu Labour.
Mike, Dundee

As long as people like Abu Hamza and other undesirable 'clerics' or people who trade on extreme views are also barred or deported. There should be no 'Human Rights Issues' as the human rights of those who could suffer at the hands of these idiots would be worse affected then their own. We take a manby panby attitude to human rights and abide by it! Why - those who commit crimes should go without human rights - other European Countries are not so easy
Simon, UK

The problem with banning orders is that the government doing the banning is making subjective decisions, and for government, you could read 'Home Office Minister'. The fact that one person can restrict entry into a democratic society based on personal feelings is wrong. Where most people identify with banning those who advocate violence or are blatantly anti British, the banning of an elected Dutch MP or a priest who opposes homosexuals (don't all Catholics?) on the grounds that the Home Office did not like what they are saying, albeit the truth, smacks of Big Brother. If we are to have a banning order, the grounds of what constitutes 'unacceptable behaviour' should be made crystal clear and defined by debate.
Noddy, Hampshire

I do not feel that refusing people entry based on their opinions is legitimate. If they actually break the law that is something quite different. Opinions are like backsides, everybody has one... if you don't agree with someone's views it's open to you to present your rebuttal.
Megan, Cheshire UK

Yes, people should be barred because of their views when their aim is to stir up hatred and violence.
Claire Herbert, London

No individual should be banned unless they present a clear and present danger. Not a danger they might offend someone. Free speech is an absolute!
Jon Sanderson, Retford



Print Sponsor



FEATURES, VIEWS, ANALYSIS
Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit

BBC navigation

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific