Rory Stewart: Bullingdon club 'very nasty, aggressive set-up'

14 February 2021, 16:27

Former London Mayoral candidate Rory Stewart distanced himself from the actions of the elite club
Former London Mayoral candidate Rory Stewart distanced himself from the actions of the elite club. Picture: LBC

By Seán Hickey

The former London mayoral candidate confesses he is 'ashamed' to have been a member of the elite Oxford society.

Rory Stewart joined Ruth Davidson to discuss his political career, among other things. During the interview, Ruth turned to the former Tory MP's time in the Labour party.

"I was worried about a lot of things that seemed to be going wrong in British society, and I thought that they had a kind of more ethical way of thinking about the world," the former International Development Secretary said.

Ruth wondered how Rory Stewart's politics fit in with his membership of the infamous Bullingdon club. He reminded her that he left the society "because I didn't like the feeling of it."

"I mean it was something in the early 1990s where men were dressing up in ridiculous tailcoats and basically being drunken and rude to people who came from different backgrounds from them.

"I mean it was a very nasty, aggressive set up. I felt very ashamed to be around people like that."

Ruth pointed out that "these were people that you presumably had grown up with." She wondered if because of this, Mr Stewart always felt like an outsider.

He pointed out that he was unique in taking part in military service: "But the kind of people who were in the Bullingdon club almost never got involved. In fact it's one of the things probably, if I think about it, which is a bit of a difference between somebody like me on the one hand or, you know, famous old Etonian politicians like David Cameron or Boris Johnson on the other.

"I don't think they would have ever considered being in the army, or actually really joining the foreign office or doing the sort of stuff that I did in Iraq and Afghanistan it just - whatever their idea of public service was, it wasn't that."