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Robert Peston to deliver Holyoake Lecture 2019 in Manchester

Humanists UK is delighted to announce that journalist and broadcaster Robert Peston will deliver the prestigious annual Holyoake Lecture on 21 November, in Manchester. Early bird tickets are available to purchase now.

Robert Peston is a journalist, author, and presenter. He is the Political Editor of ITV News and host of the eponymous political discussion show Peston. Across his career at both the BBC and ITV, Peston has developed a reputation for his passion for communicating on economic issues and the unique insights these afford to spectators of politics and current affairs.

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Raised in a humanist household, Robert Peston is the son of the late Maurice Peston, a Labour peer and longtime member of the All Party Parliamentary Humanist Group who campaigned in the House of Lords on a range of humanist topics, including public holiday status for Darwin Day, legal humanist marriages in England and Wales, and for an inclusive education system without religious discrimination.

Peston is the author of such books as Brown’s Britain, Who Runs Britain?, and How do we fix this mess?  His latest book, WTF, examines the risks technology poses to democracy, lessons to learn from the Grenfell Tower disaster, and how to raise living standards for all.

The Holyoake Lecture is named after George Holyoake, who co-founded the Cooperative Movement and coined the word ‘secularism’. The lecture, always held in Manchester, examines an aspect of politics or contemporary social or political issue, especially as it relates to secularist and humanist issues, including liberalism, democracy, social justice, feminism, anti-racism, LGBT rights, and equality.

In recent years, the Holyoake Lecture has developed a reputation for attracting a diverse array of speakers from across the political spectrum. Douglas Murray delivered the lecture in 2017, following on from Owen Jones in 2016, both speaking on moving ‘towards a humanist politics’. In 2013, Humanists UK Vice President Professor Jim Al-Khalili spoke on ‘The Forgotten Legacy of Arabic Science’, while Professor Kate Pickett spoke in 2012 on the measurable human impact of inequality in a society. Last year’s Holyoake Lecture, delivered by Humanist of the Year winner Joan Bakewell, provided a fascinating account of 20th century social activism, rooted in the humanist perspective on life and ethics.

Announcing the lecture, Humanists UK Chief Executive Andrew Copson said:

‘Robert Peston has made a name for himself as one of the UK’s most insightful commentators on current affairs – helping his viewers and readers untangle the complex web of economic, social, and political factors that define the world we live in.

‘The Holyoake Lecture has always been a unique lecture in our annual lecture series, exploring political thought in relation to some of the most challenging debates of our times. Robert’s lecture will be another in that great tradition, offering a unique perspective on the changing world around us.’


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