LABOUR challenged Theresa May today to axe the “shocking” appointment of right-wing journalist and free schools advocate Toby Young to the new higher education watchdog.
Mr Young’s appointment to the board of the new Office for Students universities regulator has been controversial because of his casual bigotry, sexism, homophobia and fanaticism for the privatisation of education.
“Theresa May cannot allow this appointment to stand,” said shadow equalities minister Dawn Butler.
“She must also explain what exactly made them appoint him in the first place. Transparency is key to changing attitudes and outcomes.”
The decision sends the message that, “under the Tories, misogyny and homophobia will not just be tolerated but rewarded,” Ms Butler said.
Mr Young has described wheelchair ramps in schools as a sign of “ghastly inclusivity” and labelled working-class students at Oxford University “universally unattractive.”
The Tory favourite has said he received his own place at Oxford after his father exerted pressure on the admissions tutor.
He has also made a string of offensive comments online, including referring to a photo of him next to a woman by saying he “had [his] dick up her arse.”
In 2011, he tweeted about Prime Minister’s Questions between David Cameron and Ed Miliband, saying: “That’s quite a cleavage behind Ed M.”
University and College Union general secretary Sally Hunt said: “Toby Young’s offensive and puerile comments on a wide range of subjects certainly highlight his unsuitability for a position on this board.
“They also prompt serious questions about the process of how the board was selected.
“Students need people who will fight their corner. It is ridiculous that there is no proper representation of staff or students on a board that found room for the likes of Toby Young.”
Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson has criticised the “ridiculous outcry” over the appointment of Mr Young, who he said was the “ideal man for the job.”
Mr Johnson and Mr Young worked together at The Spectator magazine for several years. Mr Johnson’s brother Jo Johnson is currently Universities Minister.
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