Robbie Travers is at the NUS Conference advising unknown centrist delegates

‘You don’t tend to get little Rees-Moggs walking round the NUS Conference’

Following a hiatus from social media after being called out for untrue claims in the national papers, Edinburgh law student Robbie Travers has returned, but this time at the NUS National Conference.

Travers’ exact role at the conference, neither delegate nor observer, is – like many aspects of his façade – rather vague.

"I’m here doing what I do," Travers told The Tab's reporters at the conference in Glasgow, "which is basically speaking to people. People ask me my advice, I come, chat to them, I make connections for them." If that doesn’t sound like something you’d hear via a covert camera on Panorama, I don’t know what does.

Pressed on who specifically he's in Glasgow to advise, Travers alluded to "delegates from the right of Labour and the left of the Conservative party."

And, not one to sell his passion for the task short, he told The Tab he'd "rather not spend any more time than necessary here."

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Shakira Martin speaking at this year's conference

Travers made headlines in September when his claim he was ‘under investigation by the University of Edinburgh for mocking ISIS’ gained attention from The Times, Fox News, and The Daily Mail. When The Tab asked Edinburgh, they said this was untrue.

Both the university and The Times apologised to Esme Allman, who made a complaint about Travers personally, but was subjected to media attention and messages to her inbox calling her an "ISIS sympathiser". Despite an acknowledgment from The Times of these errors, Travers’ pinned tweet is still a link to the article and his original claim.

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After a hiatus from Twitter, Travers is now back. Back doing what exactly? And what’s pulled him back? "I don’t get hired by these students," Travers suggested. "I exist in a weird bubble in which I know a lot of people, which is quite useful. But I also have a lot of connections to people, not just in the student world, but outside of it." Connections he was keen to drop into conversation at every opportunity.

Like Peter Odemwingie on transfer deadline day, Travers appears to bounce from place to place, chasing interest where he can find it. "I’m in and out, always on text and that", he says.

So who are these young, politicians-to-be that Travers is advising? He would only reveal: "Lots of delegates. More so delegates on the right wing of Labour and the left wing of the Conservative party.

"I would say delegates on the right wing of the Conservative party, but they’re not elected. You don’t tend to get little Rees-Moggs walking around the NUS Conference for obvious reasons."

Despite his presence here, Travers is not NUS’ biggest fan, as highlighted by a passer-by’s surprise at his presence during our interview. His view on last year’s President are far from complimentary, with Travers quipping that he "mourned for weeks" when Malia Bouattia un-friended him on Facebook.

Whilst he credited Shakira Martin for bringing the organisation "back to life", he described the conference as "spouting empty rhetoric" rather than targeting real issues that effect students.

"I’d rather not spend any more time than necessary here," – some would ask why, then, is he here at all?

To keep up to date with the pinnacle of student politics, straight from The Tab's reporters at the NUS National Conference, like The Tab on Facebook.

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