Students angry as Cardiff Uni Conservatives host Ann Widdecombe
Despite her controversial views regarding conversion therapy for homosexuality, her appearance in the webinar series will go ahead
Former Conservative MP, and later MEP for the Brexit Party, Ann Widdecombe will be the first guest of the year on the Conservative Society’s ‘In Conversation!’ webinar series, taking place on Zoom on the 15th October.
The SU website advertises her webinar as discussing her experiences from “the halls of Westminster, to the Strictly Come Dancing dancefloor”
The announcement has been met with criticism due to her previous outspoken views on a cure for homosexuality, and other such controversial opinions. In an interview with Sky News in 2019, Widdecombe expressed that ‘Science may produce an answer to homosexuality.’
Her anti- LGBT views stretch further back into her career, as according to the data site TheyWorkForYou, Widdecombe has “almost always voted against equal gay rights.”
Despite complaints, the Students Union has defended its decision to host Widdecombe in a statement reading:
“The Students’ Union, alongside the University, seeks to support students to engage in discussion and debate as part of their education and development.
“Where this occurs, the Union takes a role in ensuring that such speakers are aware of their rights and responsibilities, balancing freedom of speech and expression with regard to other legal requirements and protections such as public safety, prevention of crime and the protection of the legal rights of others.
“Having been satisfied that an event meets the above criteria as set out in the events booking process, the Students’ Union has no grounds to stop an event from taking place.”
One twitter user argued that Widdecombe’s event contradicts the SU’s policy towards’s speaker events, stating:
“I plead, if you have this policy in place for the protection and wellbeing of marginalised communities of students, you must stick to it.”
Another user tweeted that the it is “absolutely appalling that such a person with views that marginalise communities can be platformed.”
The Conservative society responded to the criticism in a tweet reading: