Former Tory Chair: I commend students calling for removal of anti-gay Sultan’s honours

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Former Tory Chair Lord Deben has commended the Oxford University Student Union for condemning the university’s decision not to rescind the Sultan of Brunei’s Honorary Doctorate in Law.

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

An emergency motion was passed unanimously by the Oxford Student Union council on Wednesday evening which will now request that the university clarify why it has thus far refused to revoke the Sultan’s Honorary Degree.

Speaking to PinkNews, Lord Deben said: “Honours were given to the Sultan of Brunei before he decided of his own volition and within his own power to stone women found guilty of adultery (but not men) and to stone gay men. It dishonours the university which has linked its name with him and all women and gay people who are undergraduates, graduate students, or alumni of these institutions if those honours are not rescinded.

“I commend all those who demand immediate action to dissociate their institution from so barbaric a decision.”

Students at Oxford will also contact and provide support to the Student Unions at University of Aberdeen and King’s College London, whose universities have both refused to rescind honours given to the Sultan.

Oxford SU LGBTQ Officer Daniel Templeton told PinkNews: “The decision of the University is regrettable and shows a lack of regard for LGBTQ students. An emergency motion has been brought to the Student Union Council to condemn the University’s refusal to rescind the honour, and to ask the University to clarify the reasons for doing so.”

Responding to PinkNews questions about whether the university would remove the honour on Tuesday, an Oxford University spokesperson said it would not, and declined to comment further.

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publisher Benjamin Cohen spoke at a graduation dinner at King’s at the weekend, and called for the honour to be withdrawn.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

According to sources at King’s, the Student Union there is also preparing to raise a motion with the university.

A similar honour at the University of Aberdeen, also remains.