universities minister

Meet the new ‘anti-woke’ universities minister who historically voted against gay rights

He also voted in favour of raising uni fees, great

Amidst the endless political chaos, it’s virtually impossible to keep up with who the hell is universities minister. But the latest one, appointed by Rishi Sunak, Robert Halfon, helpfully made himself known via his controversial first speech at The Times Higher Education conference on Wednesday, were he called attempts to decolonise degrees “nonsense”. 

Basically, the Quality Assurance Agency, which makes sure your degree is up to scratch, has put critical race theory into its recommendations for the first time, requesting all courses teach about colonialism and white supremacy – and University of Exeter alumni Robert isn’t impressed. 

“Real social justice is about closing our skills gap and helping students into good jobs, not decolonising nonsense,” he claimed. 

And this isn’t the first time Robert has been against a form of inclusivity. The Tory MP for Harlow also voted against gay marriage in 2013, claiming he didn’t want people to be “forced to conduct marriages against their faith.” Seems super fair, Rob. 

“I’m sorry I voted this way…I would vote for equal marriage now,” he claimed in a Twitter video in 2019. Robert’s representatives refused to comment on the vote or whether the minister supported LGBTQ+ students now when questioned by The Tab. 

Aside from having questionable historic views on gay rights and thinking decolonisation is “nonsense”, Robert has made plenty of other concerning ballot choices during his time as a politician. So, here’s everything else you need to know about where he stands on other key issues: 

Tuition fees 

Robert has always voted to keep university fees and backed the decision to raise the fee cap to £9,000 per year in 2010. So, you’re not getting a discount through him any time soon. 


Robert voted to legalise abortion in Northern Ireland under certain circumstances, said yes to keeping at home abortions available after the pandemic and was in favour of buffer zones that prevent women being harassed by protestors when they go to a hospital or clinic. However he did vote against decriminalising abortion in England and Wales in 2017. 


Robert believes in strict immigration rules and voted in favour of creating an offence for entering the UK without clearance and against ordering border control officers to avoid using their powers in a way that could endanger refugees’ lives at sea. He also voted against allowing victims of slavery and trafficking (including children) more than 30 recovery days in the UK before they’re sent elsewhere.

Nuclear weapons 

Robert is in favour of nuclear weapons and voted to replace the UK’s four nuclear submarines (Trident) with a new nuclear weapons system. In 2015, he even voted in favour of slashing the budget for the welfare system and using the cash on nuclear weapons. 

Mass surveillance 

Robert wants eyes on you at all times and has routinely voted in favour of mass surveillance. That includes everything you’re doing online, your personal data, and intercepting your “communications”. 


One cause Robert can get behind is having cigs inside. In 2010, he voted to exclude pubs and private members clubs from smoking bans and still in 2015 thought it was a good idea for drivers to be smoking behind the wheel, even if there was a child sat next to them. 

And, in case you fancy some more reading material, you can see Robert Halfon’s full voting record here.

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