A society at Reading University hit the headlines this week after it was accused of spreading ‘fear and hatred’.

But who exactly is Turning Point UK, what do they stand for and why is it causing controversy?

Turning Point UK (TPUK) is a conservative activst organisation which describes itself as a ‘student movement for free markets, limited government, personal responsibility and duty to others’ and has been endorsed by the likes of Jacob Rees Mogg and Nigel Farage.

But the Reading University outfit has come under fire this week and has faced calls to be disbanded after it was branded ‘anti-trans’ for asking whether trans women should be allowed in female prisons.


Nick Tenconi, the groups’ chief operating officer, said: “Turning Point UK is a grassroots conservative and free speech activist organisation. We are the largest conservative activist group in the U.K..

“Our main focus is to challenge the often far-left bias in our educational institutions, particularly focusing on universities across the country.

“Since our inception in 2019, we have reached thousands of university students and have set up activist chapters across the United Kingdom, and we have been endorsed by prominent conservative figures from Priti Patel and Jacob Rees-Mogg to Nigel Farage.

“We enjoy a diverse membership of people from a variety of different backgrounds who stand with us against Marxism and radical socialism.

“Online we reach millions of British people each month who share our common sense message across digital platforms.

“In 2022 we were thrilled to welcome Conservative MP Marco Longhi as our honorary President and look forward to working with him and other like minded MPs in the future.”

The organisation is a growing presence at a number of universities in the UK with its Reading outfit approved as a society less than a year ago in May 2022. It was officially launched at the university’s Freshers’ Fayre in September.

This week tensions grew at the Reading University campus after a protest took place.

During the event, the group held a poll asking  passers-by whether convicted trans women should be sent to a male or female prison.

This took place on campus on Thursday, February 9, and led to non-student members of the group being escorted off campus.

Their poll prompted a Change.org petition started by Elliott Venables to shut down TPUK as a society at the university.

The petition states: “Allowing Turning Point UK to operate and host demonstrations on campus, is allowing the far right to fester among our community.

“As a community, we have faced the consequences of hatred in the form of the Forbury Garden attack. It’s horrific to see that during LGBTQ+ history month, people who are spreading fear and hatred have been given a platform.”

In response, Nick Tenconi, the chief operating officer of TPUK argued the petition had been written “at best naively, at worst maliciously”.

Mr Tenconi added: “We are strong supporters of the LGB community and have featured interviews from both the LGB Alliance and Gays Against Groomers on our social media.”

The UK group is an offshoot of Turning Point USA (TPUSA), which was founded by political commentator Charlie Kirk in 2012.

Turning Point USA grew in influence slightly before and during the political career of Donald Trump, who became US President in November 2016.

Since then, it has assisting in the public careers of a number of political commentators, including Candace Owens, who served as its communications director from 2017 to 2019.

The group regularly tours university campuses in America, where speakers have been heckled by anti-fascists and the genuinely far-right group called ‘Groypers’ which the Jewish civil rights organisation the Anti-Defamation League has accused of being White supremacists.

It has developed a reputation for raccuous conferences, one of which then President Donald Trump  gave a speech at in 2019.

In Great Britain, TPUK assisted in the public career of Black British commentatorDominique Samuels, a regular fixture on UK TV channels such as GB News.

Another prominent figure affiliated with TPUSA is Rob Smith, a Black gay conservative and Iraq war veteran.