A group of Kingston Students heckled local Conservative MP Zak Goldsmith on his visit to Penrhyn Road campus on Thursday night.
The students, the majority of whom are members of the KU Socialist Party Society, used a megaphone to chant: “Workers and students, unite and fight. No ifs, no buts, no education cuts”.
Commenting on the protest, Mr Goldsmith said: “It’s totally legitimate – there was only about 10 people, but if you feel strongly about something then you should protest.”
Mr Goldsmith had come to the university to talk to a meeting of Greener Upon Thames, a charity which campaigns for a plastic bag-free London. But he added: “No politician wants to be unpopular. No politician wants to be hated. They don’t want to have this kind of thing every time they go to an event.”
The protestors were demanding the government rethink their plans for higher education. One of the activists said it was hypocritical of the MP, who supports the “vicious” cuts to come and to talk at a university which is going to be hit so badly.
David Berrie, President of the Socialist Party Society, said: “We want to get people to notice that there are many people who are against the cuts – to raise awareness and agitate. We don’t think that they’re fair in the slightest.”
Mr Goldsmith believes that the cuts are the only possible way forward for the government and said that in absence of a really compelling alternative, he will vote for the government to make the cuts, adding: “I believe if we don’t deal with the deficit we’re going to be stuffed.”
Although the politician did not make a pledge to protect student fees, he admitted: “If I was a Lib Dem and I’d signed one of those pledges I would also vote with the government.”
In the biggest student demonstration in a decade, an estimated 52,000 students and lecturers took to the streets of London to protest the cuts.
Mr Goldsmith acknowledged the level of concern, but said: “This is just one issue that is on the radar for students, but there are a million other issues that are on the radars of a million other people.”