Sun. Oct 17th, 2021

‘A monstrous attack on freedom of expression’: Tory MP David Davis accuses YouTube of censoring him after video of his speech describing concerns about vaccine passports was removed

  • Ex-Brexit secretary spoke at an event at the Conservative Party’s conference
  • He claimed in a 12-minute speech last week that Covid certificates were ‘illiberal’
  • YouTube removed footage, claiming it violated medical misconduct policies


Tory MP David Davis has accused YouTube of censoring him after a video of a speech describing concerns about vaccine passports was removed from the site.

The former Brexit secretary spoke at the Conservative Party’s conference last week about his view that Covid certificates were ‘illiberal’, demanding that ‘an ordinary British citizen produced our papers to do something normal in our daily lives. ‘

The 11-and-a-half-minute clip was originally uploaded by the Big Brother Watch campaign group, which had hosted the fringe event where Mr. Davis spoke.

However, YouTube then removed footage from the speech, claiming it violated its ‘medical misinformation’ policy.

In a message email to Big Brother Watch, the platform said: ‘YouTube does not allow allegations of COVID-19 vaccinations that contradict expert consensus from local health authorities or the World Health Organization (WHO).’

Davis claimed YouTube’s claims about his speech as ‘potentially insulting’ and maintained that the speech was ‘completely accurate’.

A Google spokeswoman who owns YouTube told MailOnline that ‘sometimes we make the wrong call’.

Tory MP David Davis has accused YouTube of censoring him after a video of a speech describing concerns about vaccine passports was removed from the site

Tory MP David Davis has accused YouTube of censoring him after a video of a speech describing concerns about vaccine passports was removed from the site

Big Brother Watch said it had never received such enforcement from any social media platform before and said it would appeal the decision.

The video was then reinstated earlier in the week.

Davis, MP for Haltemprice and Howden said: ‘This is a scandalous attack on freedom of expression.

‘Throughout the pandemic, we’ve seen blatant attempts by Big Tech to dampen opposition voices challenging conventional wisdom. This episode serves as a further example of the worrying tendency to stifle free speech.

‘My speech at the conference was carefully examined, completely accurate and backed by the latest scientific evidence.

‘This government will shortly introduce the Online Security Act. This damaging legislation is nothing more than a censorship charter that only transfers more power to these unwarranted Silicon Valley giants.

‘The unequivocal attempt by YouTube to censor my speech is a warning. If YouTube is happy to try to silence elected MPs, they are also happy to censor anyone who uploads content to their services.

‘The government must stop the erosion of freedom of expression online. It starts by looking again at the completely inadequate proposals in the online security proposal. ‘

David Davis took to Twitter furiously after the video was taken down.  It has since been reintroduced

David Davis took to Twitter furiously after the video was taken down. It has since been reintroduced

Mark Johnson, Legal and Police Officer at Big Brother Watch, added: ‘The removal of David Davis’ brilliant speech at our civil liberties event is a serious act of censorship from a platform with a rising track record of granting freedom of expression.

‘YouTube has become more and more intolerant of discussions about the pandemic.

‘If a Member of Parliament and a human rights group can be censored by YouTube, so can everyone.

‘The government is doing nothing to tackle online censorship, but will make the problem worse with broad rules that maintain legal speech in its new online security proposal.

‘This should be a wake-up call for politicians that freedom of speech is under serious threat in the digital world.’

A Google spokeswoman who owns YouTube said: ‘The selected video was temporarily suspended, but after review, it was resumed immediately.

‘We quickly remove flagged content that violates ours, including COVID-19 content that explicitly contradicts expert consensus from local health authorities or the World Health Organization.

‘With millions of hours of videos uploaded to our site every day, we sometimes make the wrong call.’

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