Furious Tories today condemned the ‘no platforming’ of ex-MP Amber Rudd by Oxford University students.
Ms Rudd was due to speak at the UN Women Oxford event last night – but was told when she arrived that the event to mark
It followed pressure from some students who claimed Ms Rudd’s
Ms Rudd said the extraordinary snub was ‘badly judged and rude’, saying her critics should ‘stop hiding and engage’.
Cabinet minister Jacob Rees-Mogg waded into the row today, branding the students ‘snowflake central’.
Ms Rudd’s daughter Flora also joined the backlash, saying: ‘This is not how women should treat each other.’
Amber Rudd (pictured with student organiser Felicity Graham) was due to speak to young women about engaging in politics at Oxford University
Cabinet minister Jacob Rees-Mogg also waded into the row today branding the students ‘snowflake central’
Ms Rudd’s daughter Flora also joined the backlash against the extraordinary snub
‘Free speech is the bedrock of a democracy and Oxford University ought to lead the way rather than being snowflake central,’ he tweeted.
The group had invited Ms Rudd to speak about her experience of being a woman in Parliament, while also promising an ‘honest and frank discussion’ about the impact of her policies.
But the former minister arrived last night to an empty hall after Felicity Graham, president of the UNWomen Oxford society, which organised the event, was forced to cancel amid severe criticism from fellow members and students.
The UNWomen Oxford society’s 13-strong committee approved sending an invitation to Miss Rudd in Janaury.
Ms Graham told the Mail she was adamant the event should go ahead, but received a call 30 minutes before the event was due to start last night from the committee which said they no longer supported the invitation.
Ms Graham said: ‘It was ultimately my decision but every single person on the committee was against and I was given no choice.
‘I was adamant we weren’t going to cancel because I think she was a great feminist to be platforming and because she has worked on UN campaigns, it seemed right. It was the Oxford African and Caribbean Society – who hold a lot of power – who really applied the pressure and forced us to cancel.’
UN Women Oxford posted on its Facebook page: ‘Following a majority vote in committee, tonight’s event with speaker Amber Rudd has been cancelled.
‘We are deeply sorry for all and any hurt caused to our members and other wom*n and non binary people in Oxford over this event.’
The snub is the latest in a series of figures being ‘no-platformed’ – denied a chance to speak – at universities across the UK by students who deem them too controversial.
Event organisers were forced to cancel after they were inundated with complaints about the former Home Secretary’s links to the 2018 Windrush Scandal (pictured, Jamaican immigrants arriving at Tibury Docks in Essex, June 1948, coming to Britain escaping unemployment)
Ms Rudd, who also served as minister for women and equalities, tweeted: ‘Badly judged & rude of some students last night at Oxford to decide to ‘no platform’ me 30 mins before an event I had been invited to for #IWD2020 to encourage young women into politics. They should stop hiding and start engaging.’
Her journalist daughter Flora added: ‘Can not believe mum was ‘no-platformed’ at my old Uni yesterday.
‘Mum doesn’t need the platform and travelled to talk for FREE for International Womens Day – proceeds to FGM charity.
‘I don’t care if you disagree with her. Its f***ing rude.’
A number of current and former MPs also came to Ms Rudd’s defence.
Dehenna Davison, the newly-elected Conservative MP for Bishop Auckland, tweeted: ‘Outrageous. Academic institutions are where you are exposed to ideas you don’t agree with, and where you can challenge them through rigorous debate.
‘No platforming the former Home Secretary (and Women and Equalities Minister!) is very badly judged.’
Former Labour deputy leader Tom Watson posted: ‘If you’re trying to silence Amber Rudd you really are being anti-democratic.’
And former Conservative and Liberal Democrat MP Dr Sarah Wollaston tweeted: ‘No platforming of @AmberRuddUK by Oxford is absurd & worrying. Why are universities allowing ideological fringes to crush freedom of speech in our centres of excellence?’