Toby Young deletes thousands of tweets amid row over appointment to university role
A right-wing commentator who landed a plum job with a new universities watchdog was today forced to delete thousands of his tweets after some of his past comments sparked anger.
Toby Young bulk-removed past insults including one calling a woman a “mad bint” and one in which he questioned whether Labour MP Stella Creasy was “just dim”.
It was announced at the weekend that the Spectator writer had been appointed to the board of the new universities watchdog the Office for Students.
Labour swiftly demanded he be sacked for what it branded “homophobic” and “misogynistic” comments made in the past.
The tweets deleted today include one in which he suggested he masturbated over charity marathon Comic Relief in 2009.
In another he made a lewd joke to celebrity chef Kirstie Allsopp in which he told her she would have won an award for “best baps”.
Other previous tweets by Mr Young include one in which he said a female MP had “quite a cleavage” and one in which he joked about a woman pictured with him that he “had my d*** up her a***”.
All in all Mr Young was estimated to have deleted almost 50,000 tweets today.
Shadow Women and Equalities Minister Dawn Butler told PoliticsHome: "Deleting his vile sexist and homophobic tweets won't magically make Toby Young an appropriate person to sit on the Government's university regulator body.
“If Theresa May doesn't rethink this appointment, the message she is sending to students is that under the Tories, misogyny and homophobia will not just be tolerated, but rewarded."
OSBORNE AND JAMES PILE IN
The tweets by Mr Young also drew criticism from former Chancellor George Osborne in his latest editorial as boss of the Evening Standard.
“With no Commons majority, would the Government really win a motion that objected to his appointment?” the editorial read.
“And would a Tory Party struggling to connect with metropolitan Britain want to go down to defeat defending Mr Young?”
Tory Business Minister Margot James meanwhile piled in to tell Mr Young it was “a mistake for him to belittle sexist comments by labelling them ‘politically incorrect’.”
But Mr Young was defended by Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson - a former employer of the commentator at the Spectator - accusing critics of a “ridiculous outcry”.
Mr Young also hit back at his critics in a statement on his Facebook page defending his appointment.
In it, he said: "Given that defending free speech will be one of the OfS’s priorities, there’s a certain irony in people saying I’m ‘unfit’ to serve on its board because of politically incorrect things I’ve said in the past.
"Some of those things have been sophomoric and silly – and I regret those – but some have been deliberately misinterpreted to try and paint me as a caricature of a heartless Tory toff.
"For the record, I’m a supporter of women’s rights and LGBT rights. Indeed, I was a supporter of gay marriage, defended the policy in the Sun on Sunday and debated Nigel Farage on the topic in the Daily Telegraph."