Opin­ion split over Katie Hop­kins’ of­fer to speak at Wales’ schools

South Wales Echo - - NEWS -

CON­TRO­VER­SIAL right-wing com­men­ta­tor Katie Hop­kins has en­gaged in a war of words with Wales’ Ed­u­ca­tion Sec­re­tary Kirsty Wil­liams and a teach­ing union af­ter it was re­vealed she is of­fer­ing her­self as a speaker at schools.

Hun­dreds of par­ents also ex­pressed out­rage af­ter Hop­kins’ man­ager said she was al­ready booked to speak to 11 to 16-year-olds at sev­eral schools and is look­ing for more to take part.

Oth­ers de­fended Hop­kins, who lost her job as a pre­sen­ter on the LBC ra­dio sta­tion af­ter mak­ing con­tro­ver­sial com­ments about the Manch­ester Arena bomb­ing, say­ing she had a right to air her views.

Hop­kins is of­fer­ing her­self to schools for no fee to de­liver Q&A ses­sions in Novem­ber and her man­ager said she was “con­firmed” to ap­pear at venues in Wales and Scot­land.

Welsh Ed­u­ca­tion Sec­re­tary Kirsty Wil­liams urged schools not to book her, de­scrib­ing her as “un­elected” and “un­pleas­ant”. She added: “Or­well said that some­times the re­state­ment of the ob­vi­ous is the first duty of the in­tel­li­gent. Katie Hop­kins is un­elected, un­pleas­ant and needs PR and re­ac­tion to thrive. No proof that she will speak in Welsh schools. When they go low, we should go high.”

Hop­kins sar­cas­ti­cally re­sponded to the Sec­re­tary on Twit­ter.

She wrote: “Thanks to the Welsh Ed­u­ca­tion Sec­re­tary for her warm wel­come. In Wales school speak­ers must be elected. Ap­par­ently.”

She also hit out at the Na­tional Union of Teach­ers for crit­i­cis­ing the tour. The union’s Welsh sec­re­tary David Evans said he “wouldn’t give Hop­kins the time of day” and asked schools to be “very care­ful in re­gards to ideas they ex­pose pupils to”.

She tweeted in re­sponse: “Re­spect­fully @NUTon­line Wales. You do have an is­sue with ji­hadis in the val­leys. Some bal­ance would be a fine thing.”

Hop­kins also faced crit­i­cism from the Na­tional Ed­u­ca­tion Union and wor­ried par­ents. Writ­ing on Face­book, mum Karen Pick­ford com­mented: “I would keep my daugh­ter off school. I don’t want her to be­come a big­oted show-off like this woman.

“Katie Hop­kins should be kept away from schools and keep her opin­ions to her­self. Dread­ful woman.”

Mum Re­becca Mark Mor­gan agreed. She wrote: “I’d refuse to send my child to school if she was there and to be hon­est, with her views, I can’t imag­ine this is true.”

But not ev­ery­one agreed the di­vi­sive Daily Mail colum­nist should be banned. Reader Martin Jones said: “She has a right to air her views if any­body is will­ing to lis­ten how­ever con­tro­ver­sial.

“I don’t be­lieve any schools would book her to speak un­less she was part of a de­bate with other par­tic­i­pants who would be able to chal­lenge her views and opin­ions how­ever dis­taste­ful.”

Frankie Moore said: “What is ev­ery­body so afraid of?

“That your kids might ques­tion her views, there are plenty of opin­ion­ated ex­treme views in schools by speak­ers with du­bi­ous cre­den­tials, but shouldn’t kids make their own minds up?”

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