The annual Conservative vs Labour debate has been met with much controversy as the KCL Liberal Democrat Society has threatened to boycott the event after the KCL Politics Society refused to include them.
Liberal Democrat Councillor and Leader of the KCL Liberal Democrats Jake Acock commented under the Facebook post for the event saying that the KCL Politics Society “should have invited the Lib Dems â€“ the only party with a clear stance on Europe”.
This was followed up with a statement made by the Liberal Democrat society on their Facebook page: “We are very disappointed that the KCL Politics Society have not included us in their debate, and only included Labour and the Tories.
“We are asking all our members to boycott the event and to email showing disapproval for ignoring a party that has and will be again, a major force in British politics. Shame. Shame on KCL Politics Society. Shame.”
The KCL Politics Society has since issued a statement in response: “The Politics Society upholds the principle of non-partisanship and believes in the inclusion of all political parties.
“Following the Liberal Democrats complaints of their exclusion, we offered to host another debate during the second semester, including all political parties.
“However, they declined the invitation and threatened us to â€œsuffer the consequencesâ€ for excluding them now.Â We honestly thought the Liberal Democrats Society was an inactive society since they did not attend Freshers Fair and they have not been active on social media for more than 6 months.
“We also know of other societies who have tried to contact them to organise events, with no response.
“We lament this situation and are very surprised by the Liberal Democrats attacks.
“We think that respect should always be kept between student societies and we will not accept under any circumstances threats or boycotts to our events.â€
Cllr Acock has since offered Roar a comment onÂ the statement issued: â€œFor the last two years, since I have been studying at Kings, the Liberal Democrats have been excluded and ‘banished’ from the debating circle.
“You may ask a few questions as to why? Howsoever, whatever answer one believes, it ignores the fundamental principle of ‘open democracy’.
“Currently, we are stuck between the far left and the far right of politics, with Corbyn drifting to the left day by day and May lurching to nationalism hour by hour. Where has the centre ground gone?
“Very simple: it has been excluded from having a voice. We have been made voiceless by the ‘politics’ society. Clearly, politics only encompasses the Tories and Socialists; Liberals be gone!
“We were in Government in 2015, effectively governing this country and yet, that does not matter? Currently, we are predicted to gain seats at the next General Election and potentially be put into a position of making the choice of coalition. (I wouldn’t want to make that choice right now).
“Both major parties have ruled out a people’s vote, yet the latest polling in the Evening Standard suggested at least 67% of people wanted a people’s vote.
“We have been neglected and now the politics society are making feeble excuses as to why we should not take part in the debate. The real answer is simple, if you believe in ‘free speech’ or ‘open democracy’, then let us debate.”
The King’s College London Conservative Association and King’s College London Labour Society have also made their position known on the statements made.
KCLCA President Emily Slatter said: “We must understand that this debate is at the discretion of the KCL Politics Society.
“I should also stress that nowhere has the society in question ruled out a wider inter-party debate; to assume the contrary is, perhaps, a leap – and there is the real shame. In the same breath, should the Liberal Democrat society wish to enter into debate, the Kingâ€™s Conservatives welcome it.
“Nonetheless the KCLCA supports the KCL Politics Society wholeheartedly, as the true shame of this all is not the Political Society, rather it is the Liberal Democrat response to this situation.”
When questioned about the statement made by KCL Politics Society, King’s College London Labour wholeheartedly supported it.
The Conservative vs Labour debate hosted by the KCL Politics Society takes place on Friday 11th October at 7pm in Lecture Theatre 1 at Bush House.Â Â