A presidential candidate in today’s Oxford Union elections was alleged to have brought the society into disrepute, with a potential speaker slamming him for “financial carelessness and duplicity”.
Daniel Wilkinson, presidential candidate for the ‘Progress’ slate, found himself under fire following the invite of Professor Judith Buchanan. She claims he informed her that a debate she had been confirmed to speak on had been cancelled when it had, in fact, not.
Wilkinson himself spoke in the debate, taking her potential slot. Buchanan went on to complain about Wilkinson’s behaviour to both the Union and his college.
The society was later forced to pay out £202.90 on her pre-booked travel expenses.
When approached by Cherwell, Wilkinson said that there was a miscommunication between Buchanan’s PA and himself, hence the confusion, and that a panel of the returning officer and their assistants had found that he had not brought disrepute to the Union.
He added: “For the record, I was always in favour of reimbursement and honesty with the speaker, but as you may know the power to authorise such a decision resides only with the President. I informed the speaker, as instructed, that there was no longer a place for her in the debate; this had the unfortunate consequence that she misunderstood, believed me to have lied, and was therefore frustrated.”
“I acted in accordance with my duties and received the brunt of the speaker’s anger for doing so, and to imply that my actions were autonomous and internally aimed at causing a situation such as this with a potential speaker is a fundamental misunderstanding of the facts.”
Cherwell can also reveal that a candidate running on the ‘Refresh’ slate, Musty Kamal, has twice faced allegations of electoral malpractice while running in student societies. In the Union’s Michaelmas elections, Kamal was found guilty of electoral malpractice and stripped of his position on the Secretary’s Committee.
Kamal – who received the most votes in the election – was found to have breached Rule 33(a)(i) by making an “illicit statement” – one that is “untrue or misleading” and is intended to influence the course of the election.
A spokesperson confirmed to Cherwell that the statement in question was Kamal’s claim he was running as an “independent” candidate. Kamal told Cherwell: “I think it is important to remember that in their first term of Oxford not everyone is familiar with the Union rules and, to my mind, I misidentified the definition of the word ‘independent’.
“As such, my naivety led me to believe that my manifesto could incorporate the word. Nevertheless, I have learnt from my technical mistake and if elected look forward to creating a more engaged and inclusive union.”
In addition to this, Kamal was embroiled in further scandal while standing for election as general secretary at the London School of Economics (LSE) student union. In a story making the front page of LSE student newspaper The Beaver, Kamal is accused of breaking electoral rules by beginning his campaign before the official start date.
When approached by Cherwell, Kamal did not address the allegations from his time at LSE.