Jeremy Vine shocked as students stop presses at old Durham newspaper

‘I can’t believe they have done this to save just four grand’: Jeremy Vine is shocked after Left-wing students at Durham University stop the presses at his old college newspaper amid censorship row

  • Students’ union claims it is closing the Palatinate newspaper to save money
  • But many at the prestigious uni believe the decision is politically motivated 
  • The paper has reported challenges to politically correct cabal running the union 

For more than 70 years, it has been a crucial training ground for some of Britain’s most accomplished journalists, including BBC broadcasters Jeremy Vine and George Alagiah and legendary newspaper editor Sir Harold Evans.

But now the plug has been pulled on the student newspaper at Durham University amid an astonishing freedom of speech row.

The students’ union claims it is shutting down the presses on the Palatinate newspaper to save money.

But many at the prestigious university believe the decision is politically motivated because the publication has reported challenges to the Left-wing and politically correct cabal that runs the union.

Jeremy Vine, pictured said he ‘can’t believe they have [closed the newspaper] to save just four grand’

‘It’s a convenient way to remove a thorn in their side,’ said Jack Pearce, 20, a third-year archaeology student. ‘The students’ union is completely unaccountable and anti-democratic.’

The new president of the union, Seun Twins, has hailed Jeremy Corbyn as ‘the white king’ and called for Tories to be dealt with by ‘roadmen’ – a statement suggesting they should be beaten up by street youths.

She came to her post in controversial elections in which more than half the students who voted demanded that nominations be reopened – effectively a vote of no confidence in all those standing.

Despite the protest vote, which was covered in detail in Palatinate , Miss Twins was appointed president and took up her role last month. Christopher Page, a 21-year-old third-year politics student and a former president of Durham Union Conservative Association, said the decision to shut down Palatinate’s print edition followed a series of damaging articles over the votes fiasco.

He said: ‘The union has been acting more like a dictatorship than a student democracy.’

However, the students’ union has insisted that axeing the free print edition is a money-saving decision as it grapples with a £200,000 funding cut. The move will save the union £4,000 a term.

Imogen Usherwood, one of the newspaper’s joint editors, said: ‘We were told there is no budget allocated by the students’ union to print it for this term and the next few terms remain uncertain.’

And in a rallying cry to muster the support of fellow students, they pledged: ‘We will scrutinise and hold those in power to account. Please help us to continue to do so.’

Vine backed their campaign, saying: ‘I can’t believe they have done this to save just four grand. It seems amazing. It’s a fantastic newspaper and they are making a very false economy.’

Miss Twins, a former head girl at Camden School for Girls, a comprehensive in North London, became student union president after taking senior roles in the Durham People Of Colour Association and the Intersectional Feminism Society.

Many at the prestigious university, pictured, believe the decision is politically motivated because the publication has reported challenges to the Left-wing and politically correct cabal that runs the union

She became mired in controversy in April when one of her private Instagram post was leaked.

It said: ‘I don’t condone violence in the slightest, but sometimes when you are in the presence of such grotesque entitlement do you ever just want to say ‘We need to take these Tories to South London and let roadmen deal with them.’ ‘

She later insisted the post was in response to a specific incident of bullying and was an expression of the way she felt she had to present herself ‘because of racism and sexism’.

Even by the febrile standards of student politics, Durham has been beset by controversy. Last week the students’ union banned the Conservative Association amid claims that there was a ‘culture of hate’ within the group.

Union bosses said some of its members were involved in circulating ‘abhorrent’ and ‘horrific’ comments on social media that referred to Nazi genocide, sought to justify rape, and used the language of white supremacy.

The Conservative Association says it has not been presented with any evidence and has been treated unfairly.

Gareth Hughes, chief executive of the students’ union, said there were ‘no political influences’ on the decision to ‘temporarily’ halt the print production of Palatinate, which was established in 1948.

‘Palatinate has spent the past six months doing some amazing journalism, but the finances in the current term are just very difficult,’ he said.

Hughes said the union was investing in the newspaper’s website and other resources. 

Durham University did not respond to a request for comment.

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