Nadhim Zahawi targeted at University of Warwick by trans rights protesters

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University of Warwick: Nadhim Zahawi targeted by trans rights protesters

Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi had to be escorted away from a university meeting by security guards after being heckled by LGBT protesters.

The Conservative MP for Stratford-on-Avon had been at the University of Warwick on Friday to talk at the university's Conservative Association.

Trans rights activists protesting outside the event shouted "Tory scum" and waved flags and placards.

They were protesting over previous comments made by Mr Zahawi.

One protester hit a member of the Conservative Association on the head, the Telegraph reported, but they were not hurt, while the minister was ushered away by campus security guards.

In a statement on its website, Warwick Pride said it had not been involved in organising the protest outside the talk and independent group Trans Action Warwick was behind it.

It said members of Warwick Pride had attended the talk itself to try to ask Mr Zahawi about the rights of trans people in the UK and had not caused any disruption inside.

Image source, Reuters
Image caption,
Nadhim Zahawi had been at the University of Warwick to speak to its Conservative Association

In a statement ahead of the talk, Warwick Pride referred to comments made by the education secretary in support of a professor accused of transphobia for her views on gender identity.

Philosophy professor Kathleen Stock has been criticised for her views on trans rights and quit her post at the University of Sussex after protests.

She has firmly rejected the claim of transphobia, while the minister has previously said it is "unacceptable that a scholar of her calibre should be hounded out of university".

Warwick Pride said Mr Zahawi "plays a significant role in institutional transphobia as education secretary".

The group was referencing his role alongside the Equality and Human Rights Commission producing guidelines for how teachers should treat trans students.

The university's Conservative Association said it supported the freedom of people to express their views and it was a "shame" protesters had stopped Mr Zahawi "from expressing his".

Mr Zahawi tweeted on Tuesday that he was "happy to debate" a point raised by one of the students.

"We must always show kindness, tolerance and love when discussing these issues," he added.

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