Fight erupts at Jacob Rees Mogg event held at UWE
His talk was interrupted by anti-conservative hecklers
A fight broke out at a Jacob Rees Mogg talk last night, held by the Politics and International Relations Society on Frenchay campus.
Conservative MP Jacob Rees-Mogg was only a few minutes into his talk before he was interrupted by a group of anti-conservative protestors in balaclavas, who entered via the back of the lecture hall and began heckling.
Instead of recoiling, Mr Rees-Mogg confronted the protestors and tried to talk to them.
I really don't like Jacob Rees-Mogg's politics either but what is this rubbish? He has a right to speak pic.twitter.com/IELg268tlU
— Sunny Hundal (@sunny_hundal) February 3, 2018
But a few moments after, the incident turned into a scuffle.
Initials reports claimed that punches were thrown at Jacob Rees Mogg and that he was shoved by protesters, but he has since denied those claims.
Amy, a Politics and International student said: "I was there. It was not students protesting. And the violence wasn’t aimed at Rees-Mogg he was trying to stop others fighting."
— Chloe (@chloekayex) February 2, 2018
The woman filmed confronting the man in a white shirt said: "The member of the audience in the white shirt started getting violent towards the people being disruptive. I was standing in front of him when he punched me. No student was violent here."
After the unexpected incident, Mr Rees-Mogg said: "Some people who don't agree with me wanted to make their point, and I don't object to this.
"I think we live in a free society and freedom of speech is very important.
"And people like me, who advocate freedom of speech, support it when it's not exactly what we want, as well as when it is what we want."
Later, he told the Telegraph he "wanted to stop anyone being hit because the whole thing would have degenerated" and that he continued his talk after the incident ended.
In a statement, UWE Bristol said the university "absolutely appalled by the conduct of a small number of attendees.
"It is our understanding at this stage that a small group of protesters broke into the lecture theatre where the event was due to take place via the back doors. The police were called and our security attended."
"We understand that these protesters were not UWE Bristol students and did not have tickets for the event."
Many have been in support of Jacob Rees Mogg and his reaction to the hecklers:
My politics are not those of @Jacob_Rees_Mogg however l utterly condemn the behaviour of those tonight who tried to attack him whilst he was due to speak at an event he was invited to. It's extremely intimidating for any MP who travels alone to an event to be treated like this ?
— Angela Rayner (@AngelaRayner) February 2, 2018
This isn't the first time that Mr Rees-Mogg has caused controversy amongst university students.
Only recently, the President of the University of Sussex and and the SU Activities Officer came under brutal fire when a picture of them posing alongside Mr Rees-Mogg was uploaded on Instagram.
The photo, which has since been deleted, received copious backlash from SU officers and students alike.