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Humanists UK responds to Times column on president-elect Alice Roberts

Source: The Sunday Times

The Times has today published a letter to the editor from Humanists UK Chief Executive Andrew Copson in response to a column by Robert Crampton.

The article by Robert Crampton stated incorrect claims about our president-elect Alice Roberts and Humanists UK.

Below is the full text of the letter which Humanists UK submitted to the paper. In its printed version, The Times decided to edit the letter and did not include the line about the findings of the Times‘ readers poll.


Robert Crampton (Alice, I know what it’s like to clash with your parents over schools, 20 November 2018) is wrong to say Humanists UK lacked diligence in choosing our president-elect Alice Roberts. In fact, her situation is part of what makes her such an excellent choice. Her children attend a Church of England state school only because they were refused places at the local non-religious state schools, which she and her husband applied to and would have preferred.

Alice’s situation – shared by hundreds of thousands of parents in our country – illustrates the hard and unfair choices faced by parents as a result of the fact that, in England, a third of our state schools are religious (a proportion that is increasing). If all state schools were inclusive community institutions with no religious discrimination or partiality, as we have urged for over a century, this situation would not arise. The campaign to achieve this is one that Alice will lead and her experience will be an advantage in this, not a hindrance. Judging by the 70% of your readers who agreed with her in your own online poll, she will have plenty of support.

Andrew Copson
Chief Executive, Humanists UK


For further comment or information, please contact Humanists UK press manager Casey-Ann Seaniger at or phone 020 7324 3078.

Read more about Alice Robert’s appointment here.

At Humanists UK, we advance free thinking and promote humanism to create a tolerant society where rational thinking and kindness prevail. Our work brings non-religious people together to develop their own views, helping people be happier and more fulfilled in the one life we have. Through our ceremonies, education services, and community and campaigning work, we strive to create a fair and equal society for all.


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