Former President of the University’s Conservative Association Jack Matthews has accused his Labour counterparts of “inspiring misogynistic comments”.
Writing on Twitter, Matthews’ accusation concerned a set of stickers distributed by the Oxford University Labour Club stall at last week’s fresher’s fair, which displayed the slogan ‘Never Kissed a Tory’.
Matthews claimed that the stickers prompted some students to direct comments such as “Sorry love, never kissed a Tory” at female officers running the OUCA stall. These comments reportedly made his friend feel ‘extremely uncomfortable’.
Matthews tweeted the OULC account, asking “Have you given up on One Nation Labour with your ‘Never Kissed a Tory’ stickers – theyre (sic) inspiring misogynistic comments”.
Matthews, a postgraduate student in Earth Sciences, declined our request for further comment.
The claim of misogyny prompted angry responses from senior OULC figures. Former co-chair Helena Dollimore used Twitter to describe Matthews’ claim as ‘absurd’ and ‘offensive’. Dollimore, a third year history and politics student also involved in Young Labour UK, went on to criticise OUCA’s feminist record, asking Matthews ‘does OUCA have a women’s officer yet?’.
Dollimore supported an OULC measure passed in June of this year to split its members into two electoral colleges, with 50% of voting power given to those who do not identify as men.
OULC declined our request for further comment.
Former OUSU Women’s Officer Sarah Pine also defended the slogan, claiming that Matthews was wrongly focusing on the stickers rather than the male students who had made the comments originally, writing on Twitter: ‘We’re saying man involved is at fault’.
History student and NUS representative James Elliot intervened in the heated discussion, writing: ‘Think Tory councils closing rape crisis centres does more to harm to women (sic) than stickers’.
Matthews served as OUCA President in Hilary of 2014, making student headlines when he condemned the NUS as intolerant of right-wing opinions.
The slogan ‘Never Kissed a Tory’ is used by LGBT Labour across the country on stickers, t-shirts and banners since its introduction in 2008.