Toby Young Defends Himself Against Critics Of His New Job

West London Free School founder says he's under attack because he is a Tory


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Toby Young has defended himself after facing a barrage of criticism following his new position on the board of a higher education watchdog.

toby young

Spectator columnist, Mr Young, who lives in Acton, co-founded the West London Free School in 2011 and runs the New School Network. He is one of six new appointments to the Office of Students - which has to hold universities to account on issues like vice chancellors' pay and free speech on campus.

Sally Hunt, general secretary of the University and College Union, said: "If this organisation was to have any credibility it needed a robust board looking out for students' interests.

'Instead we have this announcement sneaked out at new year with Tory cheerleader Toby Young dressed up as the voice of teachers and no actual representation from staff or students'

A variety of others including union representatives and Labour MPs have joined the attack citing remarks he made about working class children and the issue of inclusivity.

He said, ' I've been a defender of free speech since reading JS Mill’s On Liberty aged 16. As Mill says, ‘The only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilized community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others.’

''Given that defending free speech will be one of the OfS’s priorities, there’s a certain irony in people saying I’m ‘unfit’ to serve on its board because of politically incorrect things I’ve said in the past.''

In an interview with the Spectator's Coffee House podcast, Mr Young says the fuss has been caused because he is an 'outspoken Tory and a defender of the government's education reforms' and he is in a sector, 'which is completely dominated by the left.'

Mr Young has written and published a fuller explanation on his blog

A Department for Education spokesman said, 'Toby Young's diverse experience includes posts at Harvard and Cambridge as well as co-founding the successful West London Free School.

"This experience will be vital in encouraging new providers and ensuring more universities are working effectively with schools.'

January 3, 2018

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