UKIP Culture spokesman Peter Whittle writes, "In the past week, we have seen a number of disturbing developments which prove that we cannot trust our own rulers to defend and protect the precious value of freedom of speech on which our democracy is based.
"This week, we have learned that a number of police forces attempted to collect the names of people who had bought copies of the magazine. One of the forces, in Wiltshire, described this as being in the interests of 'community cohesion.'
"And today we hear that Lord Woolf, the former Lord Chief Justice, has said that cartoonists should 'show restraint' so as not to offend Muslim sensibilities.
"At no point during this time have any of our political leaders taken the opportunity to state loud and clear that freedom of speech is a fundamental British value and that no one group should receive special treatment.
"At no time have any of them made it clear that there is no law which prohibits the giving of perceived offence, or that the taking of it is a justification for curtailing an ancient freedom.
"The public rightly looks on in bewilderment and growing frustration at the appalling lack of nerve, the cynicism and the sheer indifference displayed by our political class.
"We in UKIP understand that our freedoms were hard won. We believe that the law must apply to everyone equally, and that the values on which those laws are based are upheld completely and fearlessly.
"We will defend freedom of speech - not just against those who seek to limit it, but in place of those in our establishment who lack the will or the courage to protect it."