Former Tory Chair: King’s College dishonours gay students by maintaining honour for Sultan of Brunei

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Former Conservative Party Chairman Lord Deben, has criticised King’s College London for rejecting calls by the publisher of PinkNews to rescind an Honorary Law Doctorate given to the Sultan of Brunei over the country’s new law which allows gay people to be stoned.

In April the Sultan, Hassanal Bolkiah gave approval to Brunei’s revised penal code, which urges death by stoning for same-sex sexual activity.

PinkNews publisher Benjamin Cohen spoke at a graduation dinner at King’s at the weekend, and called for the honour to be withdrawn.

A King’s spokesperson said the college would not rescind the honour, given that it was awarded before the new law was introduced.

Speaking to PinkNews, Lord Deben said: “To be a recipient of an honorary law doctorate suggests that you support a rational legal system. Stoning women accused of adultery and gay people simply for being gay shows that the Sultan of Brunei clearly does not.

“King’s College London should revoke the Sultan’s honour. If it does not, the college dishonours its female and LGBT alumni and students. King’s College London must now stand up for legal decency.”

The Sultan, whose family has governed Brunei for 600 years and whose fortune is estimated at $13 billion (£7.75 billion), received an honorary knighthood from the Queen in 1992 and has been awarded a string of honours by British universities, including an honorary law doctorate from King’s in 2011.

The King’s College London students’ union also called for the doctorate to be withdrawn.

Lord Deben served as Conservative Party Chairman and Agriculture minister under Margaret Thatcher, and as Environment Secretary under John Major.

King’s College currently has contracts with Brunei for medial and military training.

Update: King’s responded to a PinkNews request to say it has “nothing further to add at this time.”