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Oxford students in petition to ban Boris Johnson from Balliol

Students at the college attended by Boris Johnson have called on Oxford University leaders to publicly condemn the PM.

Boris Johnson attended Oxford in the 1980s (PA)
Boris Johnson attended Oxford in the 1980s (PA)

By Abbianca Makoni, PA

A student who started a petition to ban Boris Johnson from his former Oxford University college said it is no longer an “old boys’ club”.

The petition calls on Balliol College to publicly condemn the Prime Minister for suspending Parliament, remove his alumni status and to stop him from attending any of the college’s events.

Harriet Lester, a Phd student, began the petition with fellow student Andrew MacGowans, after meeting at a protest rally in the city.

Referring to the controversy over Mr Johnson’s actions to suspend Parliament for almost five weeks ahead of the Brexit date of October 31, Ms Lester said “everyone” at the college was appalled by the recent “political coup”.

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The anti-Johnson petition (PA)

Asked if lecturers and other pupils were supportive of her petition, she said “everyone has been on board and they agree something has to be done.

“There’s been little resistance.

“But we have told the college, you’re siding with the oppressor by not saying anything.”

The petition was not about being for or against Brexit, but aimed to make people realise “things are changing; it’s no longer an old boys’ club (at Oxford), but a place which welcomes everyone,” she said.

Ms Lester stressed that the protest that sparked the petition was attended by pro- and anti-Brexiters and people from across the political spectrum “including Conservative speakers”.

“This petition is a way to bring dialogue,” she added.

The petition says: “Balliol College’s student body has consistently demonstrated its commitment to democratic values.

“We call upon its members to sign this petition in order to to put pressure on college administration to take definitive action in this matter.”

The Prime Minister studied classics at Balliol College in the 1980s and was also a member of the controversial Bullingdon dining club at the time.

PA

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