AN LGBT+ staff network at the University of Edinburgh has called for the removal of newly appointed rector Simon Fanshawe.

The announcement of Fanshawe’s appointment was greeted with controversy due to his connections with the LGB Alliance, a campaign group described by its critics as “anti-trans”.

Fanshawe was a founding member of LGBT+ charity Stonewall. However, he has since distanced himself from the charity due to its trans-inclusive policies and spoke at the founding event of the LGB Alliance.

He was elected rector of the university on Monday after running unopposed.

A statement released by the Edinburgh University’s Staff Pride Network – a group of LGBT+ employees at the institution – called on bosses to remove Fanshawe as rector and call a fresh election.

READ MORE: SNP to heap fresh pressure on Labour as ceasefire vote confirmed

“We are disturbed to learn of the uncontested election of Simon Fanshawe to the position of Rector at the University of Edinburgh,” it said.

“His close ties to the LGB Alliance (an organisation founded to spread anti-trans propaganda, categorized by the Global Project Against Hate and Extremism as an “anti-transgender” hate group) and his public statements ridiculing trans identity send a dangerous signal to staff, students, and the wider community that Edinburgh University is not safe for trans people and people of minoritised identities.

“That Simon Fanshawe’s candidacy was not ruled out of order is yet another reminder of how University of Edinburgh senior management repeatedly fails to uphold the University’s own policies on Equality, Diversity and Inclusion and its legal obligations under the Equality Act (2010).

“The Staff Pride Network therefore calls on the University of Edinburgh to do the following:

“Remove Simon Fanshawe as rector and implement a renewed election period.

The National: Simon Fanshawe with comedian Zoe Lyons

“Greater transparency in the rector election process with the inclusion of a Reopen Nominations option for uncontested elections.

“A pledge to protect and support trans staff and students and cease funding and platforming hate groups on campus.”

Fanshawe has previously called for a “divorce” between lesbian, gay and bisexual political activists and the campaign for transgender rights.

READ MORE: Contents of teachers’ shocking WhatsApp messages revealed

He has also been criticised for claiming that “transactivists have smashed the social contract” of the Gender Recognition Act by campaigning for self-identification.

However, other groups within the university have backed Fanshawe’s appointment.

Staff group Edinburgh Academics for Academic Freedom – who previously helped organise a beleaguered screening of the film Adult Human Female on campus – said they were “over the moon” at the news and described Fanshawe as “the perfect person for the role”.

A spokesperson for the group told The National: "We understand that Simon Fanshawe was appointed as Rector following due process and according to rules that are clearly set out on the University's website.

"Edinburgh is fortunate to have Simon as Rector given his decades of work campaigning for the rights of same-sex-attracted people.

"In addition to this he brings a wealth of experience of working in Higher Education (for which he was awarded an OBE).

"His book The Power of Difference demonstrates his passion for bringing people together by creating spaces for constructive dialogue, and we look forward to seeing his leadership in this area bear fruit in the wider university community over his time in post."

A spokesperson for the University of Edinburgh said: “The Rector is nominated and elected by students and staff and is not an appointment of the executive or governing body of the University.

"All staff and matriculated students are eligible to nominate a candidate. Only one valid nomination was received by the deadline of 5 February.

"In accordance with the regulations governing the election process, Simon Fanshawe has been named as Rector uncontested.”

Simon Fanshawe was contacted for comment.