Journalist Toby Young resigns as university regulator board member

Toby Young, writer and Director of the New Schools Network, has resigned from his position at the Office for Students following criticism over past comments on social media.

The journalist said his appointment to the Office for Students has become ‘a distraction’ from the regulator’s ‘vital work’. Photo: Hammersmith & Fulham Council/Flickr.

On Wednesday, the journalist said on Facebook that he regretted the ‘sophomoric and silly’ remarks after he faced backlash for previews tweets about women’s breasts and an article about inclusivity in schools from 2012.

Announcing his resignation on The Spectator’s website, Mr Young said his appointment to the university regulator “has become a distraction from its vital work of broadening access to higher education and defending academic freedom”.

He said: “The caricature drawn of me in the last seven days, particularly on social media, has been unrecognisable to anyone who knows me.

“I am a passionate supporter of inclusion and helping the most disadvantaged, as I hope my track record of setting up and supporting new schools demonstrates.

“But some of the things I said before I got involved in education, when I was a journalistic provocateur, were either ill-judged or just plain wrong – and I unreservedly apologise,” he said.

The resignation comes after MPs debated an urgent question about Mr Young’s appointment in Parliament yesterday afternoon.

Labour’s Shadow Education Secretary Angela Rayner has since taken to Twitter to comment on the news, and said the situation ‘has cast great doubt on the judgment of the PM who failed to sack him in the first place’.

“Then yesterday we had the spectacle of government universities minister defending his appointment in parliament, he had to go.

“Tory cronyism could not save his job,” she said.

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