KCL Tories condemned for discussing the sinking of migrant boats at booze fuelled debate

Labour’s shadow minister Jon Ashworth branded the motion a ‘disgraceful new low’

King’s College London and University College London Tory parties have been branded “unacceptable” after proposing a motion to discuss the sinking of migrant boats whilst drinking port.

The Conservative Associations at the two major London universities invited guests to their annual Port and Policy party on Thursday 25th January to drink port whilst debating the motions “This house would invade Yemen” and “This house would sink the boats.”

Now, Labour’s shadow minister Jon Ashworth has branded the event a “disgraceful new low” as the announcement for the party on Instagram included a background picture of a small dinghy boat overcrowded with people.

The post was later changed to remove any references to sinking boats and was replaced with an image of artillery fire but has since been taken down altogether.

UCLSU branded branded the event “offensive and harmful” and said it fell “far below the standards [it] expects from [its] student groups.” A UCLSU spokesperson also revealed to The Tab King’s that the university is “considering further disciplinary action” for students involved.

Labour’s shadow minister Jon Ashworth said: “While Tory students quaff port and laugh at weak Rishi Sunak’s failure to stop the boats, the British people are looking on in despair.

“Suggestions of sinking boats, after the tragic loss of life in the Channel last weekend, is a disgraceful new low.

“Rishi Sunak and his colleagues should come clean immediately over whether this event is sanctioned by the Conservative Party.”

Tory HQ has since demanded the event to be cancelled with a CCHQ spokesman saying: “This is obviously not acceptable and we will be asking the student groups to remove this and cancel the event.”

A Students’ Union UCL spokesperson said: “The Conservative Society’s event title is clearly offensive, harmful, and falls far below the standards expect from our student groups. Once alerted to their social media post, we contacted the society and requested they immediately remove it, which they have now done.

“We’ll shortly meet with the society committee to consider further disciplinary action in line with our regulations. Incidents of this nature are dealt with swiftly and with the utmost seriousness.”

When approached for comment, a KCLSU spokesperson said: “The KCLSU Officer Team note that the KCL Conservative Association organised an event with subject matter which many of our students would find distasteful. It is not in the power of KCLSU to ban such events, KCLSU has a statutory duty to adhere to Freedom of Speech legislation. The KCL Conservative Association has confirmed to KCLSU that it has cancelled the event.

“The Officer Team note the London Universities Conservatives have issued a statement of apology and that they are now undertaking a full investigation into this matter and will not comment further until their investigation is concluded. 

“KCLSU Officers wish to remind student groups and associations that there can be a fine line between Freedom of Speech and Hate Speech and that events and meetings should be conducted in accordance with the KCLSU Safe Space Policy and other relevant considerations.”

KCL Tories and UCL Tories have been contacted for comment. 

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Featured image via @kcltories on Instagram.