The Oxford Union’s Treasurer Charles Malton has resigned this afternoon.
The news means the debating chamber’s top three seats will have changed occupants entirely in just nine days, following the resignation of Librarian Kostas Chryssanthopolous last week and the stepping aside of President Ben Sullivan this week.
The society’s Secretary, Lisa Wehden, is still in post. Mayank Banerjee, the Union’s Acting President, expressed his regret at Malton’s move.
“It fills me with great regret to hear of Charles’ resignation. This has been an emotional time for everyone, and Charles has been a fantastic colleague and friend. The Oxford Union and I wish him all the best for the future,” he said.
“I would also like to clear up any ambiguity about the position of the President, Ben Sullivan. Following his arrest on Wednesday Ben and I decided that it would be best for me to take over much of the day to day running of the Union for the time being, to give him some time to consider his position.”
“Although I am currently acting as President, I would like to stress that he has not at this stage stepped down,” he added.
In a statement, Malton described the environment at the Union as “toxic”.
“Two weeks ago I voted in favour of the Union paying for Ben Sullivan’s legal fees, believing that in doing so I was protecting the Union against rumours rather than what have now transpired to be formal allegations. I later made a speech defending this decision,” he said.
“These decisions were taken in good faith, but I now recognize that they were misguided. People are innocent until proven guilty and I have every hope that Ben will prove to be innocent. However, the way in which many within the Union have handled this situation over the last few weeks is not behaviour that I would wish to associate myself with, and in which I have played no part.”
“As such I no longer feel comfortable continuing to be involved with this society. I am saddened that an institution which I have held in such high regard, has become such a toxic environment. I am only sorry that I did not tender my resignation earlier when I first became aware of how the situation was being handled.”
“I will not be seeking any further office within this organisation so I wish it the very best for the future,” he added.
The move follows a period of uncertainty for the society, including Sullivan’s arrest and release on bail without charges early on Wednesday. Chryssanthopolous walked out at the start of the first debate of term following a controversy over legal expenses.