Oxford law student caught admitting intention to break union election rules

A University of Oxford law student has been caught on tape stating his plan to cheat in Friday’s upcoming Oxford Union elections.

In a sound recording obtained by student tabloid The Tab, David Browne of Merton College can be heard detailing his plan to flout campaigning rules.

He speaks of a special relationship with returning officer Martine Wauben of Pembroke College and running a slate, an underhand joint campaign, so as to get his friends elected. Slates are banned by Oxford Union.

He added that he believed that the campaign could only be won by cheating, saying that that was the route he planned to take.

Browne said that his friendship with Wauben would “give me special privileges that most candidates won’t have” and said that he was asking people who voted for him to also vote for certain candidates running for other positions.

Browne told The Tab: “The comments made in the recording were not meant in any serious capacity. I was merely having jokes that were not meant to be taken on face value.

“In particular I must refute any idea that I or the returning officer plan to abuse the process of the election. Taking such a comment out of context and publishing it in this way is a grave disservice to a returning officer that has worked very hard to run the election and will no doubt perform her duties in the utmost good faith.”

Martine Wauben, returning officer of the Union said: “Every candidate is treated completely equally, to ensure an election based on the meritocratic principles. Despite the claims of this candidate I would never allow my personal opinions to affect the way I acted as returning officer or the running of the election generally.

“If anybody thinks anyone has broken any rules, they are encouraged to issue a formal complaint before the close of poll or a written allegation of electoral malpractice within 48 hours after the close of poll. The union does not tolerate rules breaking by anyone, and candidates should remember that they are never above the rules.”

Click here to listen to the audio clips.