first_img “It is very interesting, as Kidscape had never called for the Union to revoke the invitation.” She continued, saying that it was “important for victims of such crimes that the perpetrators are not given a platform to explain or justify their actions for their own ends and means.   “Hallelujah for common sense!” she added. Earlier Tansey had defended the original decision to invite Langham. He said that the invitation had not been extended for the publicity value but for the debate the talk would provoke. He stressed that he had never intended for the speech to be a chance for Langham to justify his conduct. He said, “it’s not going to be a platform for him to turn up and defend his actions or to make his conviction out to be something else. We understand that he is a [criminal], he has gone to jail – he has done that.” Tansey had explained that the debate would be dealing with the judicial system and its role in society, “a principle of liberal democracy, where once you have done your time you are absolved. At what point do we turn around and say [to criminals who have served their time], ‘Yes, you are member of society again’?” He added that he thought that the vilification of sex offenders in society was an interesting point for debate, but stressed that he had had reservations about the debate from the beginning due to the message it might send out to those affected by the issue. Despite the cancellation, he said, “the debate itself and the reasons itself for the invite are valid and I think people do recognize that.” Several students have expressed disappointment over the cancellation of the invitation. One Christ Church historian, who wished to remain anonymous, questioned the Union’s decision, saying, “I understand the controversy surrounding the issue and the fact that the Union do, eventually, have to take a stand over something, but I feel that they have tried to make their point over the wrong issue.” He suggested that the time to revoke a Union invitation would have been more appropriate two terms ago and questioned whether downloading child pornography is morally worse than being a Holocaust denier. However, Tansey said that the press reaction to the invitations extended to Nick Griffin and David Irving last year influenced his decision. He said, “having looked at Luke’s term in Michaelmas, we have learned that not all PR is good PR. We obviously did think about the message this invitation was going to send.” Chris Langham could not be reached and his agent has refused to comment on the matter. Union President Ben Tansey{multithumb}   Oxford Union President Ben Tansey has withdrawn the Union’s invitation to disgraced television actor Chris Langham, claiming that he doesn’t want “needless controversy.” Tansey had previously defended the decision to invite Langham after coming under criticism from the child protection charity Kidscape. Langham had been invited to speak at Frewin Court on 29 May to discuss his ‘vilification’ in the media. The BAFTA-winning comedy actor is best known for his performance in BBC Four comedy “The Thick of It”. He was jailed for ten months at Maidstone Crown Court last September after being convicted of 15 counts of downloading images of children, some of whom were as young as eight. He spent three months in prison but was released on appeal in November. Tansey said that he had “literally spoken to hundreds of people to gauge their thoughts on Chris Langham speaking at the Union,” and that the issue had been “considered seriously”. He added, “we’ve put together a great termcard, the committee has worked very hard to make it an exciting term and we do not want any needless controversy. We do not want dissidence to take over the forum.” He described the decision as a “purely functional” one. Tansey had previously been criticised by child protection agency Kidscape who called the invitation a “publicity stunt” and “very disappointing”. However, Chief Executive Michelle Elliot has now commended Tansey for his decision. She praised the way the Union had “looked at the arguments surrounding the invite, reconsidered the issue and were not afraid to admit that they made a mistake. last_img read more