Union Standing Committee vote to continue with Bannon event

Officials voted narrowly to not cancel the event, despite pressure from student groups

Photo: Gage Skidmore

The Standing Committee of the Oxford Union have voted to host the Steve Bannon event tomorrow as normal, after a cagey meeting.

The society’s governing body voted by seven votes to six to continue with the event, and defeat Secretary Nick Brown’s attempt to disinvite the controversial American speaker.

In the meeting, a number of committee members criticised both Bannon’s invitation and Union President Stephan Horvath’s decision to reveal the invitation to the committee 48 hours before the event.

Horvath told committee members that if it is felt that Bannon was “inadequately challenged “at tomorrow’s event he would resign form his position.

Union’s treasurer-elect, Amy Gregg, called the manner in which Horvath disclosed the invitation to the committee as “highly irresponsible”.

Horvath defended this decision to delay the announcement telling the committee members that it was taken to minimise “public disruption”, citing the wide-spread reaction to  the Union hosting Marine Le Pen in 2015.

Others, including ex-Union President in Trinity Term 1967, Stephen Marks, advocated against the event saying that it will give controversial speakers such as Bannon, a “veneer of credibility”.

Marks, also a Labour Councillor, told the committee that it ought to be ashamed of itself, calling Bannon’s invitation “a gob in the face of the people of this city who have expressed concerns”.

Stephen Horvath has been contacted for comment.

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