Student Tory groups swell in backlash at Left-wing activists

23 Apr

Conservative student leaders say the influx of new members is in response to what they say are attacks on free-speech by left- wing student groups.

They claim the Rhodes Must Fall campaign for the removal of a statue of colonialist Cecil Rhodes from the grounds of Oriel College led to hundreds of students joining Oxford University’s student Conservative society.

William Rees-Mogg, chairman of Oxford Conservatives and nephew of MP Jacob Rees-Mogg, said students were abandoning other societies out of fear that their views would be derided by other members.

“It’s the fact that you won’t get told off simply for having right-of centre views, that’s a major draw,” said Mr Rees-Mogg, whose society holds a weekly drinking event called ‘Port and Policy’, where members debate anything from the legacy of the British Empire to the merits of Divine Right Absolutism.

Alastair Ward-Booth, chairman of the Cambridge Conservative Association, said membership had surged because students were seeking “respite” from the “insane and exclusionary” politics of left-wing groups.

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