When the Conservative Prime Minister gave a speech on the European Union (EU) at a leading university this week, all the members of both the Labour and Liberal Democrat student societies were invited… but no one from the Conservative society was welcome.
David Cameron gave the speech and took part in a question-and-answer session at Exeter University on Thursday 7th April to launch the under-25s campaign for Britain to remain within the EU.
With the grassroots of his party solidly eurosceptic, coalescing around Boris Johnson, organisers were probably aware the PM’s line on the referendum would appeal more to students of other parties. So that is who they invited.
Sir Steve Smith, Exeter’s Vice-Chancellor, sent out personal invitations to a selected number of students and academics to represent the university, Exeter’s student paper reports.
The invitations read: “I am writing to invite you to a special Q&A session with a senior Cabinet Minister. This will be an opportunity to ask questions on the important subject of Britain’s EU membership and what it means for young people.”
None, however, landed on the doormats of Conservative activists.
— Ben Riley-Smith (@benrileysmith) April 7, 2016
Stephen Hawkins, a disappointed third year PPE student and Conservative City Council Candidate for Exwick, commented:
“What should have been a fantastic, shining opportunity to meet someone, that many of the University of Exeter Conservative Association see as a political juggernaut, has been shrouded with confusion, miscommunication, and opaqueness.”
“I can hardly believe that Conservative Association committee, let alone society members, have not at the very least been invited.”
Benjamin Harris-Quinney, Chairman of the Bow Group, explained to Breitbart London:
“There has been a growing feeling among the rank and file of the Conservative Party for some time that the leadership of the Party in David Cameron, Lord Feldman and George Osborne hold the grassroots Conservative membership in contempt, and would rather they were neither seen nor heard.
“For young and eager members, which the Party sorely needs with an average membership age of 68, being rebuffed in favour of Lib Dem and Labour students is a slap in the face and a dereliction of duty from the leader of the Conservative Party.
“If during this EU referendum campaign David Cameron is afraid to face his own membership, it’s highly unlikely he can heal the deep rifts in the Conservative Party, whatever the result in June”.