Jacob Rees-Mogg says protest was 'legitimate' after he was chased by demonstrators

Jacob Rees-Mogg has commented after he was chased by demonstrators as he left a speaking engagement at Cardiff University. 

While concerns were raised over the "unacceptable" harassment of politicians, the Tory MP called it a "legitimate and peaceful if noisy protest".

The activists hurled abuse at Sir Jacob as they waved Palestinian flags, while security staff could be seen warding off people trying to rush him.

Sir Jacob said: "The Cardiff University security team was exemplary in allowing a lawful protest while keeping everyone safe.

"Universities ought to be bastions of free speech and as both the protesters and I were able to give our views without fear or intimidation, the proper traditions of adversarial debate were upheld."

The former business secretary had been at the university's Conservative association on Friday, giving a talk that the students' union described as being about his "values and ideology".

He was chased by a shouting crowd of demonstrators as he was escorted to a waiting car by eight security guards.

One protester draped himself over the car's bonnet before being pulled away by guards.

Conservative Party chairman Richard Holden wrote on X: "No elected politician should have to put up with this shrill intimidatory idiocy."

Jo Stevens, Labour's shadow Welsh secretary, said: "I disagree with him on almost everything, but we cannot accept a culture of intimidation in our politics.

"The right to lawful protest is sacrosanct, but harassment and intimidation is unacceptable."

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The protest was organised by Welsh Underground Network and Cardiff Communists, with the former tweeting afterwards: "We helped organise a demonstration against this imperialist politician.

"We managed to block the doors, shutting them inside for several (hours).

"Mogg left under a barrage of our anger, anger at his zionism, anger at his cruelty to the working class, anger at his very existence."

A Cardiff University spokesperson said the protest was organised by external groups and it was not yet clear whether any students were involved in the protest.

The speaking event itself went ahead without incident, they said, and was "in line with the university's commitment to freedom of speech".

"It's vital that we enable students to invite external speakers to discuss issues within the law, and with respect and tolerance.

"It's disappointing that a few individuals chose to disrupt the end of the event."