image copyrightReutersimage captionThe portrait of the Queen was bought several years ago to decorate the common room
Students at one of Oxford University's colleges have voted to remove a portrait of the Queen from their common room.
It is understood members of Magdalen College Middle Common Room deemed the image a symbol of colonialism.
Education Secretary Gavin Williamson branded the move as "simply absurd".
The president of Magdalen said the decision was one for the students, not the college.
The BBC has contacted the students' group for comment.
Barrister Dinah Rose, who was appointed president of Magdalen College last year, emphasised that the students were not representative of the college, but supported their right to "free speech and political debate".
image captionEducation Secretary Gavin Williamson was angered by the decision to remove the picture
In a series of tweets, she said: "A few years ago, in about 2013, they bought a print of a photo of the Queen to decorate their common room.
"They recently voted to take it down. Both of these decisions are their own to take, not the college's."
She finished: "Being a student is about more than studying. It's about exploring and debating ideas. It's sometimes about provoking the older generation.
"Looks like that isn't so hard to do these days."
She added the photo would be "safely stored".
Political website Guido Fawkes reported the motion was launched to make members "feel welcome", with one student said to have commented "patriotism and colonialism are not really separable".
The education secretary, who tweeted his thoughts on Tuesday evening, said: "Oxford University students removing a picture of the Queen is simply absurd.
"She is the Head of State and a symbol of what is best about the UK. During her long reign she has worked tirelessly to promote British values of tolerance, inclusivity and respect around the world."
image copyrightUniversity of Oxfordimage captionThe president of Magdalen says the decision was one for the students, not the college
Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick told BBC Breakfast it was "student union politics".
He added: "I have a portrait of the Queen on my office wall in my government department and I'm proud to do so.
"I wouldn't want anyone to disrespect her out of ignorance in this way but I don't think that we should waste too much time on student union politics."
Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham told Nick Ferrari on LBC radio: "These kind of gestures are getting a bit out of hand.
"We should always respect the Queen but particularly now given things that have happened in the last few months.
"Let's get a sense of proportion and a bit of respect. People can air their views but those kind of gestures are divisive actually – they just divide people, and I don't think they achieve much, to be honest."
On its website, Magdalen College Middle Common Room described itself as "one of the biggest graduate communities of the traditional Oxford Colleges".
It states: "Our graduates come from many different countries throughout the world, and have diverse interests, academic and otherwise.
"The MCR forms an integral part of the Magdalen graduate experience – not only do we organise social and cultural events for students so that we can make the utmost out of our time in Oxford, but we also provide a network of support for graduate life in representing the concerns of students to the college."
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