Ditch Toby Young from watchdog board, top Labour figures tell May

The Guardian reports that senior Labour figures have urged the prime minister to remove the journalist and free schools advocate Toby Young from the board of the new higher education watchdog, accusing him of virulent misogyny.

Dawn Butler, the party’s shadow women and equalities minister, and Angela Rayner, its shadow education secretary, expressed concerns about Young’s “history of homophobia, misogyny and indifference to the rights of people with disabilities” in a letter to the prime minister on Friday.

“The virulence of Mr Young’s misogyny is disturbing; furthermore, he has offered no apology for his remarks,” they wrote. “Instead, Mr Young has said that it would be a ‘shame if people who have said controversial things in the past, or who hold heterodox opinions, are prohibited from serving on public bodies’.”

The letter, which comes a day after a major teachers’ union articulated its own misgivings about Young’s suitability to serve on the board of the Office for Students (OfS), given his “sexist and homophobic comments”, increases pressure on the government following widespread criticism of the decision by the education secretary, Justine Greening, to appoint Young on Monday.

In a separate letter due to be delivered to Greening on Friday afternoon, the Lib Dems’ Lords education spokesman, Lord Storey, said he would note that the Nolan principles – by which OfS board members and other public servants are expected to abide – required openness. “But Mr Young has certainly breached this principle by deleting thousands of entries on his Twitter account, many of them grossly offensive and, on occasion, obscene,” a draft of the letter said.

Butler and Rayner told May: “When you stood outside Downing Street in the summer of 2016, you claimed that you wanted to build a country that works for everyone. In the autumn of that year, you talked of a ‘truly meritocratic country’. The appointment of someone like Mr Young stands in contrast.”

Read the full article Ditch Toby Young from watchdog board, top Labour figures tell May

Please tell us your thoughts in comments or via Twitter ~ Tamsin

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