The Daily Star – 17 February 2008

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Izzard Backs New Speakers’ Corners

Comedian Eddie Izzard has praised plans for a nationwide network of Speakers’ Corner.

The stand-up star, speaking on BBC One’s The Politics Show, welcomed Nottingham’s Speakers’ Corner – which will be launched on Friday – the first to be created in the UK since the Hyde Park original 150 years ago.

Now he hoped other cities would follow Nottingham’s lead.

The site in Nottingham will be pedestrianised and landscaped during the summer months and is set to be inaugurated as the first modern-day Speakers’ Corner in the UK this Autumn.

Speakers’ Corner Trust, the charity behind the initiative, hopes to create a nationwide network of Speakers’ Corners following the Nottingham launch.

The charity hopes the corner will provide “a powerful symbol of citizens’ rights, a focus for civic pride and a platform for free public exchange in the midst of Nottingham’s daily hustle and bustle.”

Izzard said: “Freedom of speech is a wonderful thing and it matters because I think the strength of Britain is based on it. It’s good that Nottingham is doing this and I think other towns should do it too. It’s a great thing.”

The Speakers’ Corner will be launched at a ceremony in the city’s Market Square. It will feature a speech by video-link from Izzard.

Peter Bradley, director of Speakers’ Corner Trust, said: “We’re all really thrilled by Eddie’s support. I’ve always wanted to involve him somehow in this project. He’s not only just about the country’s freest thinker but he’s also living proof that ideas can be fun as well as serious and they can take you on unpredictable and sometimes amazing journeys -and, what’s more, sharing them brings people together.”


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