PHILIP DAVIES and his disdain for political correctness was well-documented before the Shipley MP took part in an event at the Tory conference on free speech.
Yet, while the focus has been on the conduct of all politicians after last week’s unedifying exchanges in the Commons, it is beholden on us all not to abuse the right to free speech – the bedrock of any democracy.
After all, the antagonism that has become such a recurring feature of Parliamentary proceedings risks becoming omnipresent in society as dialogue between members of the public, coupled with the vitriol now spewed out anonymously on social media, spirals out of control.
However, while it is impossible to legislate for common sense, it should, still be possible, for MPs to lead by example. For the most able and effective can still be those who articulate powerful arguments without recourse to personal attacks against their opponents.
So whilst Mr Davies is correct that the principle of free speech is the absolute bedrock upon which our democracy is built, free speech should not be a place behind which bigots and misogynists - or any other cowardly community, for that matter - can hide as he cack-handedly attempted today when casting aspersions upon the motivations of those female parliamentarians who believe equal rights for men and women ought to be a given. .