One of the students who led a trans protest that hounded Nadhim Zahawi off a Russell Group campus is the son of Labour politicians Yvette Cooper and Ed Balls, it has emerged.
Joel Cooper interrupted the Education Secretary’s Q&A during his speech to the Conservative Association to heckle Mr Zahawi over his stance on trans rights, in video posted by the Warwick Labour society.
He sat down after his monologue to cheers from fellow Labour activists and then shared the clip to his Instagram story, Guido Fawkes reported.
Taking to Twitter, Mr Cooper claimed that he and other activists were ‘blacklisted’ from the event ‘purely because they were LGBT+’ and accused the Conservative Association of ‘censorship’.
Mr Zahawi was last week hounded by around 30 members of Warwick University’s LGBT+ group Warwick Pride who chanted ‘Zahawi is a transphobe’ and ‘Tory scum’ outside a talk the Cabinet minister gave to the Conservative Association.
One protester allegedly struck one member of the university’s Conservative Association on the head while Mr Zahawi was ushered away by campus security guards as students waving trans flags followed him to his car.
The Tory MP had been asked to speak to students by Warwick University’s Conservative Association – an invitation which prompted backlash and demands to deplatform Mr Zahawi by Warwick Pride.
The protest follows the Education Secretary spearheading a new Freedom of Speech Bill which would allow students’ unions and universities to be fined or even sued for censorship and no-platforming speakers.
In a statement issued by Warwick Pride before the talk, they branded Mr Zahawi a ‘reactionary harmful transphobe’ after he defended Kathleen Stock, a former Sussex lecturer who was hounded for her views on trans rights and left the university following protests against her.
The group added that the Education Secretary ‘plays a significant role in institutional transphobia’ in the UK, ‘trivialises’ the effects of outing LGBT+ young people to their parents and claimed he has used the ‘common transphobic dog-whistle ‘adult human female’’.
The Conservative association’s chairman and politics student Tom Garth, 20, described the chaos explaining the protestors were ‘outside the lecture hall, banging on the doors’ and also ‘blasting music’.
Transgender supporters hounded Nadhim Zahawi as he visited the University of Warwick on Friday, accusing him of ‘inciting hate’
Protesters chanted ‘Tory scum’, some holding placards and wearing the trans flag
The minister had been speaking at an event organised by the University of Warwick Conservative Association on Friday
‘As Zahawi was leaving the second, members-only talk, protesters rushed towards him and one landed a blow onto one of our executive members’ head, our events secretary, although he wasn’t injured,’ he told The Daily Telegraph.
‘Then when Zahawi was exiting with security, they continued and tried to follow him all the way to his car, trying to get as close as possible to him.’
Condemning the protest, a spokesman for the University of Warwick Conservative Association said the protestors’ ‘anger and hatred’ demonstrated how they ‘actually feel towards those they disagree with’.
‘There is a general unwillingness to exist alongside those with a difference of opinion on topics that should be open for legitimate discussion,’ they said.
‘Chants of ‘Tory scum’ were again unsurprising, due to the role models these protesters rely on for their worldviews.’
In another statement, they added: ‘The UCWA supports the rights to freedom of speech and expression for everyone, regardless of political affiliation. It is a shame that, on this occasion, the intention of many protestors was not to express their own views but to prevent the Secretary of State from expressing his.
‘A healthy democracy requires tolerance of and engagement with those with whom you disagree, yet many of those protesting seem to believe it is unacceptable for Conservatives to exist on campus.’
A Department for Education source told the Mail that the incident proves the need for the new legislation and was ‘more evidence against those who say there is no such thing as a chilling culture on campus’.
University officials are understood to be making a formal complaint to Warwick students’ union regarding the incident.
A Warwick University spokesperson said: “Academic freedom and freedom of speech have always been fundamental to who we are and what we do as a university. Encouraging free and open debate is critical to learning, challenging assumptions and understanding different perspectives.
‘Mr Zahawi was invited as a guest speaker by the Conservative Association, and this was approved by the Students’ Union, which operates independently of the University.
In a statement issued by Warwick Pride before the talk, they branded Mr Zahawi a ‘reactionary harmful transphobe’ after he defended Kathleen Stock, a former Sussex lecturer who was hounded for her views on trans rights and left the university following protests against her
The activists were blocked by security as they tried to follow Mr Zahawi outside
‘We were aware of plans for a protest at the meeting on Friday evening and our community safety team ensured that the event went ahead safely – despite it being noisy, disruptive and hostile outside.
‘We always urge our students to respect people’s views even when they are different to their own.”
MailOnline can also reveal that the LGBT radicals who sit on Warwick Pride’s executive are undergraduate activists who use multiple gender pronouns and have a range of identities including transgender, ‘genderfae’ and ‘neptunic’.
Vice-President Zuzanna Charkowska is an economics, politics and international studies who identifies as a lesbian and has demonstrated in her native Poland with gay rights group Campaign Against Homophobia. On Warwick Pride’s website, she lists her interests as ‘movies, politics, Taylor Swift, embroidery’ and ‘watching video essays on YouTube’. She also says that she is determined to ‘continue creating a safe space for queer students at Warwick’.
Campaigns Officer Raul-Rafael Nemeş is studying Life Sciences with Global Sustainable Development at Warwick. He identifies as ‘gay, queer, questioning’ and his general interests include ‘visual arts like painting and sculpture’ and ‘the environment, climate change and social justice’. He says he wants to ‘promote awareness around LGBTQ+ issues on campus and beyond, learn more about campaigning’.
Less is known about Warwick Pride’s president, who goes by the first name Mia. A mathematics and physics undergraduate, Mia identifies as ‘transgender, non-binary, genderfae, asexual, demiromantic’ and ‘neptunic’. Their interests include ‘music, electronics, programming, arcana, community management and moderation’ – and ‘Lego’.
The communications officer Aurore is studying English Literature & History and identifies as ‘woman, lesbian’. She says that she wants to promote Warwick Pride’s events ‘and help reaching out many queer students at Warwick to make their experience more safe and enjoyable’.
And the Treasurer and Trans & Aro/Ace Community Officer have used avatars in place of a photo of themselves on Warwick Pride’s website. Treasurer Sylvia is studying MORSE and identifies as ‘woman, transgender, predominantly heterosexual’. The Trans & Aro/Ace Community Officer goes by the name ‘Uke/Jupiter’, is studying Physics with Astrophysics and has listed ‘dinosaurs’ as a general interest.
MailOnline has contacted Warwick Pride for comment.
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