The police have contradicted Vince Cable's claim that they advised him to pull out of a visit to Oxford University today - what would have been the first ministerial visit to Oxford since the publication of the Browne Review into higher education funding. More than 12,000 students had signed up on Facebook to protest the Browne Review this afternoon.
The police have contradicted Vince Cable’s claim that they advised him to pull out of a visit to Oxford University today – what would have been the first ministerial visit to Oxford since the publication of the Browne Review into higher education funding. More than 1,200 students had signed up on Facebook to protest the Browne Review this afternoon.
When asked whether they had advised the business secretary not to attend, a spokeswoman for Thames Valley Police told Left Foot Forward:
“No. We did not tell him not to come, we did not advise him not to attend. If we receive intelligence of protests we let people know. His team carried out a risk assessment and cancelled the visit.”
Earlier, a spokesperson for Vince Cable had said:
“Vince Cable has postponed a visit to the University of Oxford tomorrow where he was due to speak to students in his capacity as an MP about his life in politics.
“This followed advice from Thames Valley police about threats of a protest and his concern about the level of disruption this could cause to the people of Oxford plus the possible cost of policing.”
Not only does their appear to be a discrepancy between Cable and the police over why the visit was cancelled, but on the nature of the visit itself. The protest organisers told Left Foot Forward:
“Vince Cable had been due to address the University’s Lessons in Government Seminar series – a lecture series noted for giving ordinary students the opportunity to cross-examine leading politicians on great affairs of state.”
“They’re now spinning it was a private event – yet it was open to all students and faculty at Oxford, an opportunity to quiz notable public figures on current affairs – not about their ‘life in politics’.“
Nick Clegg is due to visit Oxford on Wednesday, November 17th – the question is, will he make it?Like this article? Sign up to Left Foot Forward's weekday email for the latest progressive news and comment - and support campaigning journalism by making a donation today.