Tories Cut Ties With University Groups
The Conservative Party are cutting their ties with all university groups after a number of incidents caused negative backlash towards their party.
It follows a recommendation from an internal report and suggests the party is trying to distance itself from embarrassing past actions from student members.
These incidents are not just a recent development, and have been happening since the 1980s.
In 1980 the Federation of Conservative Students (FCS) was abolished due to a riot at Loughborough University and terrorising of the former Prime Minister, Edward Heath.
In 1986 the FCS was once again shut down after Harold Macmillian, the former Tory Prime Minister, was blamed by a member of the FCS for being involved in war crimes during WW2.
In 1998 Conservative Future was created. This was aimed at getting young members involved with the Tories. However, it ended tragically when activist Elliott Johnson took his own life due to bullying. It was shut down after the 2015 General Election.
Furthermore, recent events have catalysed the decision being reached. These included a student of the Cambridge University Conservative Association burning a £20 note in front of a homeless man while being filmed, which went viral in February. The student was subsequentlly expelled from the association. Another high-profile incident included a group of Conservative association members at St Andrews University, who in 2011 burned down an effigy of Barack Obama.
According to the HuffPost UK, a confidential report by the Conservatives has stated that “risky student politics” must be eliminated from the party completely, otherwise the Conservative brand could be tarnished by the action of it’s student accossiations.
In this report, they also urged that the Conservatives non-student youth wing must be brought “firmly” under the control of the party. This would mean they can decide on punishments if needed.