Around 85 people gathered outside the Union for the Kiss In for Rees-Mogg protestDomininkas žalys

Conservative MP and prominent Brexiteer Jacob Rees-Mogg became the target of protests during his visit to the Cambridge Union Society and the Cambridge University Conservative Association (CUCA) on Thursday.

The protests, organised by Cambridge Stays and Gays against Rees-Mogg, opposed the MP’s support for Brexit and his views on gay marriage. Approximately 85 people in total were in attendance. A proteser from Gays against Rees-Mogg, who had organised a ‘Kiss in for Rees-Mogg’, told Varsity: “It’s wrong that he is being used as entertainment”, going on to criticise his voting record on LGBT+ issues while another said they “won’t stand by while the Cambridge Union invites people like him.”

During his speech at CUCA, Rees-Mogg referred to a scuffle which occurred during his speech last Friday at the University of the West of England, during which six masked protesters interrupted him and a member of the audience was seemingly punched in the face, telling the crowd of almost 250: “you’re a very good audience, unlike somewhere I was speaking recently”.

Perhaps prompted by security concerns, Rees-Mogg stayed at the Mill Lane lecture rooms for around 20 minutes after the event ended, while attendees dispersed. Shortly before 7pm, the deputy junior proctor left the area, followed minutes later by Rees-Mogg. The MP’s driver led him to a car and they set off towards the Union.

Following his CUCA appearance, the MP for North East Somerset, known for his Euroscepticism, took part in the Union’s Brexit debate: ‘This House Believes that no deal is better than a bad deal’, alongside former education secretary and fellow Conservative MP, Nicky Morgan, beer magnate Lord Karan Bilimoria, and Lord Andrew Adonis.

Adonis, who made the front page of this edition for controversial comments over university vice-chancellor pay, clashed with Rees-Mogg on a number of issues including the availability of goods post-Brexit. Rees-Mogg refuted the suggestion that Britain would be worse off outside the EU customs union, saying the common external tariff “favours inefficient producers over consumers” and that he “would set it at zero” in order to reduce the price of products including clothing, shoes and food.

Meanwhile, Adonis claimed that leaving the common market would result in “shortages of basic goods” and “lorries queuing to get out of country” because of customs checks.


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Nicky Morgan, MP for Loughborough, also clashed with her fellow backbencher, saying a chaotic Brexit: “will destabilise this country, will destabilise our democracy, and will destabilise Britain’s standing in the world”. She also went on to criticise Brexiteer politicians who wanted a: “minimal tax, minimal regulation country”.

As well as the protests on the night, other groups have come out in opposition to Rees-Mogg’s appearance at the Union. In a statement to Varsity, Cambridge Defend Education’s Stella Swain said: “Jacob Rees-Mogg’s intolerance, demonstrated both in his despicable voting record and his public statements, is unacceptable and should not be invited into our university.

“His homophobia, his laughably regressive stance on abortion and women’s rights, and his investments in fossil fuel industries whilst blocking green energy subsidies are not just reflective of one man’s bigotry but representative of an attitude within the right that sees the environment as a commodity and liberation as a distraction from economic ‘progress’.”

Rees-Mogg has become somewhat of a cult figure amongst young Conservatives in recent years, with his popularity on Instagram and Twitter sparking the ‘Moggmentum’ movement, while his unlikely friendship with Made in Chelsea star Georgia Toffolo, who has previously referred to him as a “sex god”, has become the subject of great tabloid interest.

According to bet365, Rees-Mogg is the leading candidate to take over from Theresa May as leader of the Conservative Party with odds of 9/2, while his closest rival, Boris Johnson is at 15/2.