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Hove MP criticised over University of Sussex attack
A damning report has said Hove MP Mike Weatherley and his colleagues made “errors in judgement and communication” ahead of being hounded by protesters at the University of Sussex.
The report said Mr Weatherley’s own decisions – made against the advice of university security staff – brought him and colleagues in “direct contact with protesters”.
Mr Weatherley and his colleagues were pursued as they prepared to give a talk to the university’s Conservative society in November 2012.
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The findings of the report, released under the Freedom of Information Act and authored by the University of Sussex, have been rejected by Mr Weatherley.
A review of the incident in November 2012 said he and colleagues went against “agreed decisions”. It said he brought extra people to the talk than agreed and ignored decisions made by the university’s head of security Roger Morgan.
The report, written by director of estates at the university Andrew Jupp, said members of Mr Weatherley’s group did not make their way to a building on campus as agreed.
It said: “At least two of the group made their way directly to A2 [a building on campus] although [unnamed] made clear the agreed arrangement was for the party to wait in IDS [a building on campus].”
It added: “The route taken by MW’s party brought them into direct contact with the protesters waiting at A2.”
The report continued: “It is disappointing that the MW group decided to leave IDS for A2 earlier than planned and without the intended escort.”
It added: “It has been confirmed that the initial number of the visiting group increased substantially on the day without prior notification to RM. “It is my view this miscommunication was significant.”
In conclusion the report said there were “errors of judgement and communication by MW’s group”.
However, Mr Weatherley has criticised the report. He said: “This report bears no link whatsoever to what happened on the day. By attempting to cover up the head of security’s mistakes, the university has essentially aided in this severe attack on democracy.”
A university spokesman added: “This detailed report arose from our investigation of the security arrangements for Mr Weatherley’s visit in November 2012, which we conducted under our complaints procedure. We sent this report to Mr Weatherley in January 2013.
“We made clear in November 2012, and repeated in this report in January 2013, our regret and concern that Mr Weatherley was prevented from speaking on campus by protesters.”
No one was convicted following the protests.
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