THE EDUCATION minister says she is “absolutely horrified” a university professor has resigned amid alleged transphobia.

Professor Kathleen Stock stepped down from her role as a philosophy lecturer at the University of Sussex last week.

The professor has been repeatedly accused of transphobia over the past month for her views on gender identity, with a group of students actively campaigning for her to be fired.

Earlier this month, the University of Sussex said the institution would not tolerate threats to “academic freedoms”.

But last week, Prof Stock said she will be leaving her job after “an absolutely horrible time” and “a very difficult few years”.

Education minister Michelle Donelan said Prof Stock had faced “sustained harassment and bullying”.

She told the commons the government’s proposed Higher Education (Freedom of Speech) Bill would “ensure that universities not only protect free speech but promote free speech”.

During education questions on Monday, Conservative MP Angela Richardson, of Guildford, said: “Following the sustained campaign of bullying and harassment, I was very sad to see that Professor Kathleen Stock decided to step down from Sussex University.

“Can the minister outline how the Higher Education (Freedom of Speech) Bill will uphold freedom of speech in our higher education institutions?”

Ms Donelan replied: “I would like to put on the record that I too was absolutely horrified with what has happened in regard to Professor Stock who has had to resign due to harassment, sustained harassment and bullying.

“This cannot be tolerated on our campuses, that is why this government is delivering a free speech and academic freedom bill that will ensure that universities not only protect free speech but promote free speech.”

Announcing her departure on Twitter, Prof Stock said: “This has been a very difficult few years, but the leadership’s approach more recently has been admirable and decent.

“I hope that other institutions in similar situations can learn from this.

“Am particularly glad to see University emphasising that bullying and harassment anyone for their legally held beliefs is unacceptable in their workplace.”

Equalities minister Kemi Badenoch has also spoken out about Prof Stock’s resignation.

She told the Sky News’ Trevor Phillips On Sunday programme she was “appalled” at the way the professor has been treated, adding: “I went to Sussex University and I tweeted when I saw the university statement backing her, nobody should face bullying or harassment in the workplace.”

Ms Badenoch also insisted that while the government does not believe in gender self-identification for trans people, there should be a process to get gender recognition certificates.