Jacob Rees-Mogg says university protests against him were ‘legitimate, if noisy’

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Jacob Rees-Mogg has said the protests against him at Cardiff University were “legitimate and peaceful, if noisy” after he was chased off campus on Friday, as the incident received cross-party condemnation from elsewhere.

Footage showed the Conservative MP being followed by a small number of shouting demonstrators as he was escorted into a waiting car by eight security guards after speaking at the university’s Conservative society.

Protesters could be seen waving Palestine and Revolutionary Communist party flags and shouting at the MP in the video, while security staff encircled the former business secretary and held them back.

Rees-Mog was filmed being escorted into a security vehicle as one protester leaned over the car’s bonnet and held up a sign at the windscreen before being pulled away by guards.

The former Cabinet minister said on Saturday: “It was a legitimate and peaceful if noisy protest.

“The Cardiff University security team was exemplary in allowing a lawful protest while keeping everyone safe.

“Universities ought to be bastions of free speech and as both the protesters and I were able to give our views without fear or intimidation the proper traditions of adversarial debate were upheld.”

Earlier Jo Stevens, the shadow Welsh secretary, said: “Concerned by footage of Jacob Rees-Mogg’s treatment by protesters in Cardiff. I disagree with him on almost everything, but we cannot accept a culture of intimidation in our politics.

“The right to lawful protest is sacrosanct, but harassment and intimidation is unacceptable.”

The Conservative party chair, Richard Holden, wrote on X: “How silly of these morons – whatever they think their cause is, they do it a disservice.

“I’m sure @Jacob_Rees_Mogg will have taken it in his stride but no elected politician should have to put up with this shrill intimidatory idiocy.”

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Cardiff Labour Students also condemned what it labelled as “abuse” toward the Tory, saying: “We disagree strongly with his political views. That does not mean he should be subjected to violence and intimidation at events.

“Those who equivocate on this forget the dangerous levels that violence and abuse of politicians can get to, especially since the murders of David Amess and Jo Cox, and the countless numbers of MPs subjected to abuse on a daily basis.”

The protest was organised by Welsh Underground Network and Cardiff Communists, with the former tweeting afterwards: “We helped organise a demonstration against this imperialist politician. We managed to block the doors, shutting them inside for several [hours]. Mogg left under a barrage of our anger, anger at his Zionism, anger at his cruelty to the working class, anger at his very existence.”

Source: theguardian.com

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