NATIONAL: MPs condemn protesters after Rees-Mogg fracas

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PROTESTORS who interrupted a university debate speech by Tory MP Jacob Rees-Mogg have been condemned by MPs from across the political spectrum.

A string of Labour MPs denounced a group who allegedly broke into the event at the University of the West of England (UWE) in Bristol and hurled insults at the Conservative.

Video footage posted to social media captured the scenes as Mr Rees-Mogg, who has been tipped as his party’s next leader, appeared to step in to separate rivals as onlookers call for them stop.

According to one witness the MP was ‘pushed and shoved’ as a tussle broke out and police are probing the incident.

Universities Minister Sam Gyimah branded the protesters’ behaviour ‘thuggish’, tweeting: ‘Free speech under the law is fundamental to our democracy. Well done @Jacob_Rees_Mogg for not being cowed into silence.’

Jo Swinson, deputy leader of the Liberal Democrats, said she was appalled by Mr Rees-Mogg’s treatment, tweeting: ‘Deeply worrying to see violent tactics by political opponents’