Langham invitation revoked

Oxford Union fears protests

Chris Langham’s appearance at the Oxford Union has been cancelled for fear of causing a storm of protest.

The Thick Of It star had been invited to address students on May 27 about his conviction for downloading child pornography and his ‘vilification’ in the media.

But the 185-year-old debating society admitted it had been a ‘mistake’ to ask the actor to speak, and said the event would not now be going ahead.

Officers said they wanted to avoid protests similar to those which accompanied BNP leader Nick Griffin’s visit to the society last year.

Oxford Union President Ben Tansey said he didn't want the ‘needless controversy’ linked to Langham’s invitation.

And Union spokesman Ben Glazer added: ‘After protests last term with the BNP, we didn't want to upset anyone. We probably should have realised the uproar it would cause but hindsight is a great thing, it was probably a mistake.’

The Kidscape charity, which previously expressed disappointment at Langham’s invitation, welcomed the decision as ‘a victory for common sense’.

Langham was jailed for 10 months at Maidstone Crown Court in September after he was convicted on 15 counts of downloading images of children. His agent has declined to comment on the cancellation.

Other guests at the Oxford Union this term will include Jodie Marsh, Geri Halliwell and Shaun Williamson.

Published: 25 Apr 2008

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