Oxford Union Termcard Release Hilary 2017: Debates & Panels

We’re very excited to announce exclusively the term card release for The Oxford Union’s speaker, debate and panel events this Hilary! Speaker names will continue to be released every night at 7pm, so keep an eye out. In the meantime, check out the website for running commentary on speakers by our editorial staff. If you just can’t wait, follow us on Twitter and Facebook for teaser quotes throughout the day!

First up, the debates and panels due to take place this term. With guests including Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, Sir Malcolm Rifkind, and Lord Ming Campbell, and topics ranging from startups to religion and narcotics, it’s set to be a fairly contentious series of discussions. The Benazir Bhutto Memorial Debate, commemorating the 40th anniversary of her Presidency of Oxford Union and 10th anniversary of her assassination, will likely prove a popular event. Without further ado, here is the full list:


“This House Regrets the Prominence of Allies in the LGBTQ+ Movement”

[spoiler title=’See Speakers’ style=’default’ collapse_link=’true’]Proposition:

Scott Bixby: An American journalist and commentator, Bixby covers LGBTQ+ news and US politics for The Guardian, following periods at Mic, The Daily Beast, Bloomberg, and New Republic.

Bethany Black: A comedian and actress, Black has featured in Doctor Who and Russell T. Davies’ Cucumber and Banana. She is known for her dark comedy and has been described as “Britain’s only goth, lesbian, transsexual comedian”.

Nikki Sinclaire: The former MEP for the West Midlands, Sinclaire was the UK’s first openly trans Parliamentarian. She sued her former UKIP group for sex discrimination in 2010, before establishing the ‘We Demand a Referendum Party’.


Asifa Lahore: The UK’s first Muslim drag queen, Lahore has spoken out about the relationship between homosexuality and Islam, and the process of coming out to traditional parents.

Emily Brothers was the first openly trans candidate for Westminster. Brothers stood for the Labour party in the Sutton and Cheam constituency in the 2015 General Election, having served as Programme Head at the Equality and Human Rights Commission until 2014.

Tim Ramsey is the founder and Chief Executive of Just Like Us, a charity supporting young LGBTQ+ people. Ramsey, an Oxford alumnus and former teacher, wrote in the Guardian on his return to his former school to come out.[/spoiler]



“This House Believes Social Media Corrupts Human Interactions”

[spoiler title=’See Speakers’ style=’default’ collapse_link=’true’]Proposition:

Liam Hackett is the founder and CEO of the anti-bullying charity Ditch The Label. He speaks from personal experience on issues surrounding cyberbullying, social media and homophobia, and is also the founder and managing director of Hackett & Tiger, a digital marketing agency.

Emma Gannon: A writer, blogger and podcast host, Gannon’s pieces inspect the impact of the Internet and social media, with topics ranging from ‘Has Social Media Killed Good Conversation?’ to ‘Social Media and the Refugee Crisis’.


Dr Jessica Carbino: Tinder’s Sociologist, Carbino is an expert on what people look to gain from online relationships. She completed her PhD in sociology at UCLA, specialising in facial attractiveness and online dating.

Cherry Healey is a British television presenter and social media commentator. She is best known for her lifestyle documentaries on the BBC, which investigate cultural notions including body image, sex, and parenting.[/spoiler]



“This House Believes Liberalism Has Become Elitist”

[spoiler title=’See Speakers’ style=’default’ collapse_link=’true’]Proposition:

Steven Woolfe is MEP Member of the European Parliament for North West England. Formerly a frontrunner for leadership of UKIP, he withdrew from the party following an infamous altercation with a fellow UKIP MEP, describing the party as “ungovernable”.

Matthew Elliott: Director of Vote Leave and founder of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, Elliott has been named “one of the most successful political campaigners in Westminster today”.

Kerry-Anne Mendoza is founder and editor of The Canary, an alternative media outlet which she claims is “here to disrupt the status quo of the UK and international journalism”. Mendoza also wrote Austerity, a book defending the welfare state.


Anna Soubry MP: As conservative MP for Broxtowe and former Minister of State, Soubry was resolute in her advocacy for the EU and came second in Leave.EU’s ‘Remoaner of the Year’ awards.

Lord Ming Campbell: Former Leader of the Liberal Democrats. Campbell is now a member of the House of Lords and Chancellor of St Andrews University, after 28 years in the House of Commons.

Dan Hodges: A regular columnist for The Mail on Sunday, Hodges has also written for the Telegraph, The Guardian and the New Statesman. He resigned from the Labour Party for a second time in December 2015 because of the leadership of Jeremy Corbyn..[/spoiler]


“This House Believes Religious Freedom Supersedes Civil Liberties”

[spoiler title=’See Speakers’ style=’default’ collapse_link=’true’]Proposition:

Cormac, Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor: A Roman Catholic Cardinal and Archbishop Emeritus of Westminster, Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor is among the UK’s most prominent religious leaders.

His Beatitude Fouad Twal is emeritus Archbishop and Patriarch of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem, having served as its ordinary from 2008 to 2016. He was also Grand Prior of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem and President for the Assembly of Catholic Ordinaries of the Holy Land.


Nia Griffith MP is Shadow Secretary of State for Defence. She was previously Shadow Secretary of State for Wales and has been Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Modern Languages since 2015.

Imam Ajmal Masroor: A prominent British imam and television personality, Masroor stood in the 2010 General Election for the Liberal Democrats. He also runs the Barefoot Institute, which offers education on Muslim relationships, including marriage and divorce.[/spoiler]



“This House Would Say No To Drugs”

[spoiler title=’See Speakers’ style=’default’ collapse_link=’true’]Proposition:

Patricia Gallan QPM is the Metropolitan Police’s Assistant Commissioner for Specialist Crime and Operations. She is the most senior female police officer from an ethnic minority in British history, and has trained as a hostage negotiator and a barrister.

Shaun Attwood: A former millionaire trader and ecstasy dealer, Attwood worked with the Mafia in Arizona, leading to imprisonment. He was released in 2007 and deported to the UK, where he is now an author and activist.


Peter Reynolds: Head of CLEAR, the UK’s largest drug policy reform group, Reynolds was creative director at Saatchi & Saatchi and now campaigns to legalise cannabis, especially for medicinal purposes.

Paul Hayes was Chief Executive of the National Treatment Agency for Substance Misuse. He is now the leader of Collective Voice, a non-profit organisation created to “ensure the voice of the drug and alcohol sector and those who uses its services are adequately heard.”

Steve D’Angelo has been named one of the most powerful cannabis leaders in America by Fortune Magazine. He is an activist and advocate for cannabis reform. He is the co-founder and CEO of Harborside, considered the nation’s model medical cannabis dispensary, and the President and co-founder of The ArcView Group, an angel investment network. He is also the author of ‘The Cannabis Manifesto’.[/spoiler]


“This House Believes the West Treats Russia Unfairly”

[spoiler title=’See Speakers’ style=’default’ collapse_link=’true’]Proposition:

Natalya Narochnitskaya: A Russian politician and diplomat, Narochnitskaya was Vice Chair of the International Affairs Committee of the State Parliament and is now Director of the Institute of Democracy and Cooperation.

Yevgeny Chichvarkin is a Russian entrepreneur and founder of the retailer Euroset. Worth $1.6 billion, Chichvarkin became the richest man under 35 in Russia, and has campaigned against corruption and President Putin.


Sir Malcolm Rifkind: As former Foreign Secretary and Defence Secretary, Sir Malcolm Rifkind served in the Cabinet under Margaret Thatcher and John Major, and was Chair of Parliament’s Intelligence and Security Committee from 2010 to 2015.

Sir Roderic Lyne is the former UK Ambassador to the Russian Federation. He is now Vice Chairman of Chatham House, and a member of the Board of the Russo-British Chamber of Commerce.[/spoiler]



“This House Believes the Individual Still has the Power to Shape the Course of History”

[spoiler title=’See Speakers’ style=’default’ collapse_link=’true’]Bilawal Bhutto Zardari is Chairman of the Pakistan People’s Party and the son of Benazir Bhutto. Having studied at Oxford, he now leads the largest opposition party in Pakistan.

Sherry Rehman serves on the Pakistani Senate and is the Vice President of Pakistan Peoples Party. She was Ambassador to the United States until 2013.

Victoria Schofield: Schofield was a close friend of Bhutto, and succeeded her as Union President. She is an author, historian and biographer, and wrote Bhutto: Trial and Execution in 1979.

Wajid Shamsul Hasan is the former High Commissioner for Pakistan to the UK, serving from 2008 to 2013. Hasan criticised the UK Government’s comments on Pakistan’s role in the war on terror.[/spoiler]



“This House Believes British Education Perpetuates Racism”

[spoiler title=’See Speakers’ style=’default’ collapse_link=’true’]Proposition:



Dr Tony Sewell CBE is the founder and CEO of Generating Genius, a charity helping underprivileged students to learn about STEM degrees and careers. Sewell trained as a teacher, and is a published author.

Neil Carmichael MP is Chair of the Education Select Committee. An MP since 2010, he recently chaired the Education Committee’s Higher Education consultation in Oxford.[/spoiler]



Panel: “Startups in Britain: What’s Missing?”

[spoiler title=’See Speakers’ style=’default’ collapse_link=’true’]Peter Smith is CEO & Co-founder of Blockchain, creating the world’s most popular Bitcoin wallet and one of the most trusted brands in digital currency.

Daniel Gandesha is CEO & Founder of Property Partner. He set a record for the world’s fastest ever equity crowdfunding project by raising £843,100 in 10 minutes 43 seconds – £1,311 per second.

Jeff Lynn is CEO & Co-founder of Seedrs. An Oxford graduate and entrepreneur, Jeff Lynn created one of the UK’s top equity crowdfunding platforms, and the first business of its kind to receive regulatory approval from the FCA.[/spoiler]


As if attendees needed any further incentive, floor prizes this term include a £120 meal voucher at the Ashmolean’s Rooftop Restaurant, tickets to Balliol, Hertford and St Hugh’s Balls and a £100 Deliveroo voucher.

There you have it, the debates and panels at the Oxford Union this term! Keep an eye on the Oxford Student all this week for the rest of the Hilary Union Termcard Release, as well as the print edition available this Friday.