In a move that will spark controversy, the Conservatives have announced plans to terminate all relationships with student-led Conservative movements in the UK following a tumultuous year for the youth-based wing of the party.
In a document detailing proposals for the future of the party, it was firmly stated that “risky student politics” should be taken “outside the remit of the Party” amid concern that student activity was tainting the image of the mainstream political agenda.
This follows after Ronald Coyne, a member of the Cambridge University Conservative Association (CUCA), reportedly laughed whilst burning a £20 note in front of a homeless man earlier this year.
Whilst the CUCA immediately condemned and expelled Mr Coyne, it seems this did not go far enough to stabilise the image of university oriented Conservative societies.
Further proposals include “an increase in youth ownership and engagement in local associations, thus strengthening them and bringing the youth wing firmly into the mainstream Party in the hopes of being able to award and discipline youth group.” A “focus on activity that is tangible for party success, campaigning, training and formal party events” was also put forward.
However, whilst some may consider these changes disheartening, some universities have already axed ties with the Party.
Commenting to the Huffington Post, the former Social Secretary for the University of Warwick Conservative Association, Ellie King, stated that cutting links “gives us the freedom to do what we want and campaign for who we want.”
Indeed, this is perhaps a contentious move by the party, after pledging to win back the youth vote from Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party during the Manchester Conservative Conference, with proposals including a freeze on tuition fee inflation, a hike in the income threshold and a ban on letting fees.