Tory panellist compares Brexit to “rebuilding the British Empire”

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A panellist representing the Conservative society at a Lancaster University Politics Society Question Time event has compared Brexit to “rebuilding the British Empire”, and accused its opponents of being “unruly”.

The first year Management Student was speaking on the Question Time panel representing the Conservative Party. His speaker bio described him as an “ardent Brexiteer and Thatcherite.”

Chairing the Question Time event was Tatton Spiller, founder of Simple Politics, who asked the panellist: “Are you saying that everyone who [doesn’t believe the government can make success of Brexit] is unpatriotic?”

He responded: “It’s not that, I think it’s lacking and I think it’s unruly at a time when what we’re trying to do is almost essentially rebuilding the British Empire.”

SCAN approached the panellist and gave him the opportunity to clarify the comments. He refused to comment and referred us to Robert Ogden, Treasurer of Lancaster University Conservative Future society, who said: “We will release a statement tomorrow.”

The statement was released around 3am the following day, and said the comments were: “a satirical referral to the strengthening of economic ties with the Commonwealth, which was a common argument used by the Leave side during and after the EU referendum.”

“In hindsight, our member admits that they used a poor choice of words, as it left them open to ridicule and embellishment from questionable student journalism.”

SCAN asked the panellist if he regretted the comment, or if it was a slip of the tongue. He refused to comment.

The British Empire was responsible for millions of famine deaths in British India. It has been criticised for the running of brutal detention camps in occupied territories, and the massacres of civilians by imperial troops.

**SCAN has not named the panellist who made the remarks, in the interest of his welfare. 

** CORRECTION: An early edition of this article referred to the panellist in question as representing the “Conservative party”. This has now been clarified to say he represents the “Conservative society.” 

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