CAMBRIDGE University has cancelled a lecture this evening by Ukip leader Nigel Farage — after 250 angry students and local residents said they would picket the event.
The loud-mouthed MEP was due to address politics students before being treated to a fancy dinner at Corpus Christi College’s high table.
Last night, protest organisers said they would still hold an anti-racist demonstration outside the ancient college “to make it absolutely clear that Ukip has no place in Cambridge.”
History professor Jonathan Haslam, who invited the controversial figure, said the views of Ukip’s supporters should not be “spurned.”
But students warned that organisers were playing into Mr Farage’s hands.
“Ukip is a party of hate whose racist, discriminatory and bigoted views have no place in the university community,” politics student Ben Platt told the Star.
“By permitting such views into ‘debate’, we risk legitimising them as just another acceptable stance in an abstracted vision of politics where ideology has no impact on people’s lives.”
Professor Haslam initially told the Morning Star: “I cannot agree that debate is to be censored at all — other than to exclude blatantly racist epithets which are already covered by legislation.”
But late on Wednesday evening, he sent a brief message to the Star saying the talk had been pulled.
A university spokesman directed queries about the cancellation to Professor Haslam, who did not respond to emails.
Students speculated that organisers had not anticipated protests on such a scale.
Students’ union women’s officer Amelia Horgan welcomed the news.
“I was disappointed that my university invited a racist, sexist, homophobe to speak and I’m glad to see the talk cancelled,” she said.
“The organisers say they have invited him because he is ‘topical,’ but this is exactly the sort of bandwagon publicity that has assisted Ukip’s rise in the polls.”
Mr Farage was branded a racist by senior Labour party figures including David Lammy in May after he said he would be concerned by Romanian neighbours.
And in an outburst in January, he said that women who took time off to have children were “worth less to their employer.”