TOBY YOUNG was the wrong person for appointment to the Office for Students board and the government’s methods of slipping him in were as bent as a clockwork orange.
Shorn of diplomatic adornment, that is the verdict from Commissioner for Public Appointments Peter Riddell, whose report details a catalogue of corruption by the Tories to get their preferred candidate onto the board of the universities regulator.
If a trade union, local authority or any other public body receiving state cash had adopted such partial procedures to subvert an appointment procedure, ministers would have been in uproar, demanding that heads should roll.
The University and College Union (UCU) is spot on to identify what the commissioner’s report unearthed as “nepotism.”
The Tories wanted at least one true believer in its failing education private market obsession on the Office for Students board and deployed “desperate measures,” as shadow energy secretary Angela Rayner says, to have their man on the inside.
Their special advisers intervened in the business of the appointments panel by holding special investigations into a candidate they didn’t fancy that were not extended to others — and especially not to their blue-eyed boy.
It was all to no avail since, for all their dodgy carry-on, Young had to fall on his sword anyway because of previously undisclosed hateful comments online.
While commissioner Riddell has contented himself with a mild recommendation that lessons should be learned, the evidence lays bare the extent of Tory corruption.
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