Writing on Conservative Home, he explains why:
Further to my previous emails I have learned that one of the key figures in Islam Expo is in the process of suing the highly admirable blog Harry’s Place.
I am fully aware of the bias involved – and many of the unpleasant figures behind – Islam Expo. I have followed the event on both previous years and have always been fully aware of the highly prejudicial and biased nature of the forum.
However, I believe passionately in freedom of speech. This means that I have often taken to platforms and had to talk opposite people whose views I find morally distasteful and worse. I knew that this was going to be the case at Islam Expo. Among the pannelists in the uneven panel you intended to put me on were Seamus Milne, and Anas Altikriti. Milne has previously come close to libelling me in print. He – like Altikriti – has views which I abhor. But I am willing to speak with such people, and make my case in almost any venue which cares to have me.
However, the event of Mohammed Sawalha’s legal action against Harry’s Place makes it impossible for me to be on your platform. A concerted attempt to prevent writers from highlighting the agendas or affiliations behind your event ridicules the very idea of an open debate.
I will not come on a platform hosted by people carrying out legal action against a deeply admirable and informed proponent of free speech. I hope your debate benefits from its newly re-found uniformity.