Liar! Union President Sullivan uses members’ cash in bid to gag The Tab and hide his ‘Banter Squadron’ past…then finally admits it

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Ben Sullivan is trying to hand Union Members a £1200 legal bill to cover up his lies

UPDATE: Sullivan was forced into a humiliating climbdown in a emergency meeting of Standing Committee today, after Committee Members voted 9-3 to overturn the expenses passed on Monday.

Union President Ben Sullivan is using members’ cash to gag the press from reporting his ties to a controversial Christ Church drinking society hilariously named “The Banter Squadron”.

Sullivan, who has headed the Union since the end of Hilary Term, passed a motion to pay lawyers up to £1200 to stop The Tab reporting that he belonged to the group.

When contacted by our reporter, Sullivan:

LIED, claiming he’d never heard of The Banter Squadron
• Tried to BARGAIN with us, offering stories of other students taking drugs
THREATENED The Tab with an injunction to stop us reporting the story

The motion to grant Sullivan a £1200 warchest, which was passed in Standing Committee on Monday by a margin of nine to two, is now being fought by 30 Union members who have signed a special adjournment motion.

Sullivan was using the money to – among other things – deny involvement with The Banter Squadron, a Christ Church drinking society, something he finally admitted today.

Sullivan wants to use Union cash to defend himself against allegations concerning involvement with the ‘Banter Squadron’

In an earlier statement sent to the Tab, Ben Sullivan denied any involvement the ‘Banter Squadron’, even going so far as to claim “I am not aware of what the Banter Squadron is.

He also told us: “I am not a ‘member’ of any such society/informal group.

However, Ben Sullivan’s Christ Church yearbook entries from 2011 and 2012 both explicitly mention the ‘Banter Squadron’. One tells how Ben “contributed such immortal lines as ‘I don’t have, low standards!’ and ‘Stansbithia’ to the collective Banter Squadrons [sic] musical ouevre [sic].”

Ben Sullivan’s entry for the following year contains a further embarrassing reference, which reads “2: the number of virgins Ben left behind in the Banter Squadron.

"I am not aware of what the Banter Squadron is"

When we approached him, Ben lied: “I am not aware of what the Banter Squadron is”.

Yearbook Page 2012

One of two yearbook entries linking Ben Sullivan to the controversial society

An unpublished 2012 yearbook page for the Banter Squadron – which Sullivan claims is a hoax – also explicitly names Sullivan, referring to the group as “An elite Christ Church drinking society, founded in 1304 by a group of libertines with exceptional chat.”

And today, he finally admitted his ties to the Banter Squadron, contradicting previous comments where he denied knowing the Banter Squadron existed.

He told The Tab: “I said I was not aware of what the ‘Banter Squadron’ was and that I had never been a ‘member’ because the idea that the ‘Banter Squadron’ is a formal organisation is frankly ridiculous. The phrase is an ironic term that has sometimes been used to refer to our group of friends. I apologise for not being more clear originally.”

"I am not a 'member' of any such society/informal group."

“I am not a ‘member’ of any such society/informal group,” he said.

Membership of the Oxford Union currently costs over £200 for most students, meaning that the potential cost of Sullivan’s fees is equal to approximately six memberships.

Incredibly, when earlier asked for comment, Ben Sullivan attempted to cut a deal with our reporter, asking: “Do you want to trade [stories]?”

He then went on to offer comments about the alleged drug use of members of the university, as well as allegations that members of the wider Oxford Union blackmailed other students, in exchange for the Tab not publishing this article.

Since the passing of the Union motion, over 30 members have signed a Special Adjournment Motion, which will bring the issue of Sullivan’s expenses before the Union debate chamber this Thursday, before the debate.

A copy of the Special Adjournment Motion that

A copy of the Special Adjournment Motion that temporarily prevents Sullivan from claiming personal expenses.

A group of co-signatories of the motion, including Hamish Forbes of Merton College, said to the Tab: “The motion passed in standing committee supports one member’s side while suppressing that of another.

“It uses a considerable amount of membership money to stifle serious allegations. In my opinion, the motion gives the impression of brushing  the allegations under the carpet to protect the institution’s reputation as well as that of the student politician involved.

“The money the Union receives from its members should be used to fulfil the aims of the society. Any use of funds that goes against this needs to be debated by the wider membership, not just the inner circle.”

Sarah Pine, Women’s VP of OUSU, said to the Tab: “This is not just ‘classic Union drama’. There are some serious allegations. The Union is suppressing them by funding one member rather than another. This is nothing to do with debate.”

The news leaves the Union in further turmoil, after senior Standing Committee member Katherine Connolly resigned on Monday afternoon.

Ben Sullivan told The Tab: “I can confirm that over the vacation a Vacation Standing Committee met to earmark up to £1,000 + VAT for hiring lawyers on the Union’s behalf to write to the Tab about allegations made against me. 

My objection to the [previous] article were not primarily based on the references to ‘Banter Squadron’. Other claims made in the article were inaccurate.”

In an email, a senior Union officer wrote: “I believe the union has every right to defend the President rather than the individual.”

  • James Manuell

    It was 9 to 2 spiro….

  • woodward and bernstein

    cracking story! genuine good piece from the tab

  • Michael Flagg

    Also Spiro this is not at all what the money was passed for but ok.

  • Ben Sullivan

    If the President does it, it’s not illegal.

    • Jack Moore’s Megadobber

      obviously Jack Moore. He is a Nixon nut.

  • Gallóglaigh

    Looks like he couldn’t…handle the banter.
    ( •_•) ( •_•)>⌐□-□ (⌐□_□).

  • Concerned Member

    Anyway of seeing minutes from Standing Com meeting?

    • Ben Sullivan

      Of course it’s all kept secret… I wouldn’t want it any other way.

    • It’s in the rules

      Request them by emailing, they’re available to all members.

      • Guest

        Not the in camera ones you fucking idiot.

        • Duh

          Just wait 50 years

  • reason

    who cares?

  • Chris Frost

    Can I please join the Banter Squadron?

    • David Browne

      Meeting’s at St Hildas in 10.

      • Alexander Trafford

        I thought it was in New College Sports Ground?

        • David Browne

          Sure, as long as a certain member of Secretary’s Commitee is there with some nice silk bedding.

  • Polina Ivanova

    Think I need to change my profile picture

  • Alison Woodall

    More lies and made up BS from Spiro. What a surprise.

  • Abbas Kazmi

    Shocking! If anyone wants to chat about this sensational story, you’re welcome at my LEGENDARY table tonight at Bridge for MAY DAY. I still have tickets available, just say my name on the door and the bouncers will sort if because they all know who I am.

  • StarksforLarks

    Drinks on you in Bridge Ben! Top lad

  • Jobs Reaper

    CAREER RUINED. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. WELL DONE TABS. ps. i don’t usually write in capitals.

  • Mean Girls Fan


  • Belle

    ‘I got 11 A*s in my GCSE mock’ phwoarh, ladies contain yourself!

  • Mayank Banarjee

    I guess imitation is the most sincere form of flattery…

  • Kony

    No one remembers poor ol’ Kony anymore

  • pointless nonsense

    You know you could get rid of all this corruption….replace the union with a suggestion box, it’s more honest, more useful and probably has more personality.

  • Mozzen Moztafavi

    What is this ‘banter squadron’ and why haven’t I been invited? I have excellent chat credentials

    • BSstandsforbullshit

      One is not invited to the banter squadron, one is born into it

  • NoSenseOfIrony

    I’ve heard some members of the banter squadron aren’t even billionaires

  • Hack

    Isn’t the Union all sex, drugs and rock and roll? I didn’t realise that people were actually corrupt their – I just thought they all had sex with each other to get to higher positions?

    • not even an oxbridge reject

      I expected better from a top university…

  • Peter Blenkharn

    Union is full of arsewipes! I would rather look like Joe Miles than be a a part of that cavalcade of bellends…

  • Susannah Moody


  • The Truth

    The statement was from the Senior Treasurer you idiot

  • asdf

    whats worse than the fact hes a dickhead is the fact that hes trying to be a politician in a tv drama sort of dickhead. “trading stories” haha what a fucking moron

  • Ormes Le Banteur

    I can’t believe everyone has forgotten about the firework I let off in bridge

  • That guy

    The real scandal is the appalling grammar in the Christ Church yearbook

    • asdf

      good joke

  • Pass Notes

    The Banter Squadron? The Banter Squadron? That sounds like something a heinous bunch of pricks would call themselves.

  • Pat McDOnald

    Reading this entire page, I have reached one solid conclusion. Refusing to attend a university was the best decision I ever made. I avoided an awful lot of idiots. I have certainly met some idiots outside of university but it would appear these institutions demand and enforce an “idiots only” policy.

  • Everyone else

    What a bunch of self-engrossed wankers.

  • xxx

    I feel really sorry for this guy. Don’t get get me wrong, I mean if it’s true… It’s HORRIBLE and must certainly be punished, but maybe its not even true.. All these articles are destroying his career and private life. And even if it is true, than we are not the people to judge. I hope he won’t do anything to himself. And yes I agree if it is true what he did, THAT’S HORRIBLE and UNACCEPTABLE, but destroying someone publicly like this is not much better than what he did. I hope you guys don;t forget that there ARE ALWAYS two sides of a story.. But people just love gossip and rumours so much that they don’t care at all about how this guy must feel right now. And yes I’m saying this as a girl, but not only as a girl, but as a reasonable objective person. I hope more people can see it this way. The guy’s life is already destroyed.. what do you want more? I just hope he won’t hurt himself. (And I don’t know him, not even a mutual friend, I just can’t believe how people believe everything what is has been said and have no empathy at all.. The fact that people describes this article as a “Genuine Good piece” really disgust me.

  • exon210

    Excellent article, well done for going ahead and publishing it when im sure there was pressure not to

  • Jason Borne

    Corruption and Rape in one Week? Not Ben Sullivan’s best week. #Rapist #Union #GetHimOut #EveryoneInTheUnionIsASadSadAct

  • Abbas Kasmi

    This is so corrupt. Even I think this is vile.

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