In a dispute about students removing the Queen’s portrait, Johnson backs Williamson – No 10
According to Downing Street, Boris Johnson endorses Education Secretary Michael Gove’s condemnation of Oxford University students who voted to remove a photo of the Queen from their common room.
Members of the Magdalen College Middle Common Room (MCR), which is made up of graduate students, voted decisively to have the painting removed from their common room.
Mr Williamson called the idea “ridiculous,” and a spokesman for Number 10 said on Wednesday, “You have heard the Education Secretary’s views, which the PM supports.”
It came after the college’s president, barrister Dinah Rose, said that staff had received “threatening communications” in response to the incident, while defending students’ freedom to “free speech and political debate.”
“So, if you’re currently sending rude and threatening comments to the college employees, you may consider pausing and considering yourself whether that’s really the greatest way to show your respect for the Queen,” she tweeted.
“Or whether she would be more inclined to respect the free debate and democratic decision-making traditions that we are preserving at Magdalen.”
She stressed that the students are not representative of the college in a series of tweets, but added, “Magdalen fully supports free speech and political debate, as well as the MCR’s right to autonomy.”
“Perhaps they will vote to put it up again, or perhaps they will not. Meanwhile, the photograph will be kept in a secure location.”
She stated that being a student entails “exploring and disputing ideas,” as well as “challenging the elder generation,” adding, “Looks like it isn’t so difficult to do these days.”
Mr Williamson tweeted on Tuesday evening, “Oxford University students removing a photograph of the Queen is absolutely ludicrous.”
“She is the Head of State and a symbol of the United Kingdom’s greatest qualities. She has worked relentlessly to promote British ideals of tolerance, inclusion, and respect around the world during her lengthy reign.”
The University and College Union (UCU) has since criticized him, claiming that his remarks were a “distraction from the appalling, systemic shortcomings this Government has presided over in higher education.”
Jo Grady, the general secretary, stated: (This is a brief piece.)