A former Tory MP has demanded her name be removed from Cambridge University research linking her family to the slave trade .
Ex-politician Antoinette Sandbach was named by third-year PhD student Malik Al Nasir in a 2021 video relaying his research into 19th-century slave owner Samuel Sandbach.
Mr Al Nasir claims that he has been pressed to remove references to Ms Sandbach from his work.
He has also claimed that he and the university have been contacted by her legal representatives.
The PhD student said the row was now hanging like a “sword of Damocles” over his academic career, which has seen him earn the vice chancellor’s award for global social impact for his research into Samuel Sandbach.
A spokesperson for Mr Al Nasir’s Cambridge college said: “St Catharine’s is absolutely committed to upholding freedom of speech and ensuring all of our students, including Malik Al Nasir, are able to freely pursue their scholarly interests by providing access to academic, pastoral and – where possible – financial support throughout their studies.”
Samuel Sandbach was Lord Mayor of Liverpool and a wealthy slave owner, and in a 2021 TED presentation of his research, Mr Al Nasir named Ms Sandbach as one of his descendants.
‘I am appalled by actions of my distant ancestors’
Ms Sandbach has claimed in a statement that she “would never seek to prevent free speech” or “to suppress academic research”, saying: “Mr Al Nasir is aware that I welcomed his research and I am appalled by the actions of my distant ancestors.
“I have spent my life as a legal aid criminal barrister and MP trying to fight for people’s rights and to help people in need.”
The former Tory member for Eddisbury, who lost the whip in 2019 and later stood unsuccessfully as a Liberal Democrat , said that her concerns were related to personal safety and the mention of a family property in Mr Al Nasir’s video.
She wrote in a statement on Twitter that she had been “repeatedly threatened” in the past, and took issue with Mr Al Nasir’s reference to cottages owned by her family.
Ms Sandbach added that she will continue to learn about her ancestry, writing: “There is of course ongoing discussion about the legacy of slavery and how that should be addressed.
“I am committed to understanding fully the detailed history of my family and I am committed to looking into it further. I am at the start of my learning journey.”