The Union’s Chief of Staff, Ray Williams, has resigned in protest at the recent decision by the Oxford Union to overturn the trial ban on slates.
Williams, who was the initial proposer of the trial ban, earlier issued an objection to the Returning Officer’s ruling invalidating the ban, but this was rejected.
His resignation came at the end of his speech in the debate on whether “This House believes Thatcher was a working class hero“, and was followed by Williams’ exit from the Union.
In Williams’ resignation letter, seen exclusively by Cherwell, he said “When you offered me this position, I was honoured to accept, [sic] believing you to be, as I am, firmly committed to reform and progress in the Union.
“I had previously believed [sic] that the best way to bring about change was from the outside, but under your Presidency, I thought things would be different.
“However, the recent action of the Librarian, as reported to the press, does not only fly in the face of the democratic principles upon which the Oxford Union was founded, but also risk doing enormous damage to the Union as an institution; the relationship between its Committee and Membership; and its enduring reputation.
“I have always been a believer that slates, although not wrong in principle, in recent times at the Union have degenerated by ambition and betrayal, and have toxified our elections.
“Last Trinity, I was incredibly proud to serve as a Member of Standing Committee – elected on a manifesto pledging to push for the abolition of slates. After months of effort, we passed a trial ban last term – yet the actions of the Librarian have robbed the Membership of the promised Referendum that was due to occur.
“Given the circumstances, I cannot in good conscience continue to serve as Chief of Staff. Therefore, please accept my letter of resignation, effective immediately.
“I am confident that despite my departure the Standing Committee and Senior Appointed Officials will be more than capable with ensuring the smooth running of this term’s events, which the Membership deserve more than anything.”
The Oxford Union and Ray Williams were contacted for comment.