Undercover audio: Oxford Uni law student admits plan to cheat in Union election

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By Alex Aldridge on

An Oxford law student hasn’t done his job prospects any favours after being caught on tape admitting that he plans to cheat in the Oxford Union election on Friday…

David Browne, of Merton College, is recorded making a host of embarrassing disclosures in a tape that found its way to student newspaper The Tab Oxford.

These include an acknowledgement that he plans to break the rules in order to win election to the prestigious student body. NB The interviewer’s voice has been distorted.

Browne also makes an eyebrow-raising claim that he has a special relationship with the student who is responsible for overseeing the election (known as the ‘Returning Officer’) that limits her powers.

Some other alleged infringements by Browne (whose candidate manifesto is below) of obscure Oxford Union election rules and etiquette are considered in more detail by The Tab.


After he was made aware of the recordings, Browne issued this statement:

“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.”

Meanwhile, the ‘Returning Officer’ referenced in the recording, psychology and philosophy student Martine Wauben, has also responded to the story. Wauben 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.”