How the leading Tories spent their youth

By Rebecca Davis 3 October 2011

Three of the men who run Britain are alumni of Oxford University's notorious drinking society, the Bullingdon Club. A profile of chancellor George Osborne published this weekend has given more details of the Bullingdon's secretive world of debauchery. By REBECCA DAVIS.

Osborne, Prime Minister David Cameron and London mayor Boris Johnson were all members of the Bullingdon during their time at Oxford. All three have attempted to play down their links with the society because in a period of austerity, it doesn’t look good to be bragging about the time you smashed up a restaurant with your pals just for laughs and then wrote out a cheque to cover the damage. But this is precisely the kind of behaviour for which the Bullingdon is known.

What happens in the Bullingdon stays in the Bullingdon, but a profile of George Osborne published in this weekend’s Observer blows the lid on some of it. Interviews with former Bullingdon members reveal that the initiation ritual was to down a bottle of tequila while standing on a table. One source told of a party attended by Osborne at the home of the mega-rich Rothschild family which turned into a full-on brawl. The same source also recalled being at a party with Osborne on an open-top bus and witnessing another Bullingdon member attempting to snort lines of cocaine despite the fact that they kept blowing away. David Cameron is said to have been present at a 1987 Bullingdon event where a restaurant window was smashed.

In an interview on British TV last month, Cameron was asked if he saw any similarities between the behaviour of the London rioters and the members of the Bullingdon Club. The embarrassed Prime Minister replied: “I think we all do stupid things when we are young and we should learn the lessons.” DM

Read more:

  • George Osborne and the Bullingdon Club, in the Observer.



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