A FORMER Conservative MP has apologised “for the acts of my ancestors” after an academic named her as a descendant of a merchant with links to the slave trade.

Antoinette Sandbach has said she has raised concerns with the University of Cambridge over fears for her personal safety and she does not object to being linked to a history “that is absolutely there”.

Malik Al Nasir, a poet and author, who is also a PhD history student at St Catharine’s College, said in a TEDx Talk video published in 2021 that Ms Sandbach is a descendant of Samuel Sandbach, who was in a partnership that traded with the West Indies and owned slaves.

Sandbach told Times Radio she only learnt about her family history three months ago.

She said: “We have to look at the ongoing consequences of what we have done as a country. And of course, I apologise for the acts of my ancestors.

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“I’m not responsible for them, but I accept that it was wrong and when we look at it today, it’s horrific.”

Sandbach added that she was “struggling with a history that for me is very difficult” and said she would change the past if she could.

It is understood Sandbach, the former MP for Eddisbury in Cheshire, believes the mention of her name violated her right to privacy and that she had been singled out as a politician.

She said: “I don’t object to Malik Al Nasir or Cambridge linking me to a history that is absolutely there.

“The issue is about my personal safety. So I had numerous death threats. I mean, lots of people were cautioned and one ex-police officer convicted for threatening to kill me.”

Sandbach confirmed she will be taking a complaint forward to the information commissioner.

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When asked if the grounds of her complaint were because her whereabouts were alluded to, Ms Sandbach said: “I’m not willing to discuss it. There are very clear policies that Cambridge has.

“If they’d followed them, I doubt very much I would have been all over the media.

“As I say, I’m very willing to engage on the debate about slavery and the legacy of slavery and I have never sought to suppress it.

“I have no understanding of what it must be like to be a descendant of someone who is enslaved.”

Al Nasir, of Toxteth, Liverpool, has spent 20 years looking into his own family’s ancestral origins, discovering links to plantations in Demerara, in what was formerly known as British Guiana.

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It was during this research he discovered Samuel Sandbach, a former deputy chairman of the Bank of Liverpool and mayor of the city, who he says became wealthy from the slave trade.

St Catharine’s College previously 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.”

The University of Cambridge said: “This is an ongoing legal matter and so we are unable to comment.”