Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi was heckled by LGBT+ protesters outside a talk he gave to a university’s Conservative Association.
Members of Warwick University’s LGBT+ group, Warwick Pride, shouted “Tory scum” outside the talk on Friday, as well as waving flags and placards stating “Trans rights are human rights”.
The Telegraph reported that one protester had struck one member of the university’s Conservative Association on the head, although they were uninjured, while Mr Zahawi was ushered away by campus security guards.
In a statement issued by Warwick Pride before the talk, they referred to comments made by Mr Zahawi regarding Kathleen Stock, a former lecturer at the University of Sussex who has been criticised for her views on trans rights and left the university following protests against her.
The minister had said it was “unacceptable that a scholar of her calibre should be hounded out of university”.
Warwick Pride said Dr Stock is a “notorious transphobe”.
The group added that Mr Zahawi “plays a significant role in institutional transphobia as Education Secretary for the UK” in working alongside the Equality and Human Rights Commission to produce guidelines for how teachers should treat trans students.
The minister has said parents should be “front and centre” in decisions regarding their trans children.
Warwick Pride said he “trivialises” the detrimental effects of outing LGBT+ young people to their parents, adding that he has used the “common transphobic dog-whistle ‘adult human female’.
A statement from the university’s Conservative Association said it “supports the right to freedom of speech and expression for everyone regardless of political affiliation”.
It added: “It is a shame that, on this occasion, the intention of many protesters was not to express their own views but to prevent the Secretary of State from expressing his.”