Gove, Hague and Johnson feature in tales of Oxford hijinx found in student newspaper

 

Five-in-a-bed, 'nookie rooms' and midnight runs round medieval quads wearing little more than baby oil; the exploits of the country's current political elite in their undergraduate days at Oxford read more than a little bit like Brideshead Revisited. So it will come as no small embarrassment to them that it has all indeed been revisited.

Michael Gove, William Hague, Labour's Eagle sisters Angela and Maria and a number of other Conservative MPs all feature prominently in the dusty archived gossip columns of Oxford University's student newspaper, The Cherwell, which are suddenly seeing the light of the day.

"Union hacks in five-in-a-bed romp shocker" is the headline above one story, which claims that the now Education Secretary Michael Gove, and two of his male friends, repaired to the chamber of two female undergraduates after a ball.

"Since the evening in question there have been many tight-lipped 'no comments' about what they all got up to," Cherwell reported, in 1988. "Gove claims he was only seeking comfort after being beaten up in Aberdeen on Boxing Day."

Later poor Mr Gove, then just 20 years old, apparently ended up quite literally fighting, to win back the affections of a former love, one Marianne Gilchrist.

"Gilchrist packed in poor Gove just as his term as president ended and is now hotly debated by stripling Duncan Penny. At a showdown on Friday, Gove's jealousy got the better of him and he scrambled egg all over Penny's hair. He [Penny] managed to respond by reaching for his fridge and splattering the Honourable Gentleman with a tomato. In a fit of Hulkman rage Gove broke into Penny's room at two in the morning and fire-hosed his sleeping body. Unfortunately Gove somehow was unable to hit the mark and Penny wasn't aroused . . ."

The remarks appeared in the paper's gossip column written by one 'John Evelyn' (Mr Evelyn was a prominent diarist and contemporary of Samuel Pepys. He died in 1706 and so could not be reached for comment), and so should certainly not be regarded as fact. But elsewhere Cherwell's journalists pass verdict on the man who would be King (of the Union), and arguably the unlikeliest heartthrob in the near millennia that has passed beneath the dreaming spires. "Michael conceals his rabidly reactionary political views under a Jane Austen cleric-like exterior but has been known to denounce equality of opportunity as 'leftish shibboleth'," the paper claims. "But the worst thing about this precocious pin-up is that he is, in fact, disgustingly unambitious and talented."

Other tales refer to a 'nookie room' into which disappeared Labour's shadow transport secretary Maria Eagle, in the company of two boys at a joint 21st birthday with her sister Angela, shadow leader of the Commons. "As the noise of her squeaking leather trousers reached fever pitch, twin sister Angela moved in to even the odds with her zoom lens camera," John Evelyn claims.

"A myth," Angela Eagle told The Sunday Times, who reprinted the reports. "It was a very enjoyable occasion but no nookie room. Parents and other family were in attendance as well as friends, ie it wasn't that sort of party." Maria Eagle added: "I remember my mum and dad were at the party so it can't have been that disgraceful."

In 1986, Mark Field, then outgoing junior common room president of St Edmund Hall, and now Tory MP for the Cities of London and Westminster, was photographed running "round the front quad between the strokes of midnight singing the Red Flag and wearing only a pair of boxer shorts, having been liberally covered with baby oil by girlfriend Alison Cooke".

"Yes, that was me," Field admitted yesterday.

William Hague is variously referred to as "Vague" and "Puffing Billy Hague", and one occasion in 1982, "the cuddly conservative from up north. Chipmunk-chops [who] put the tory into oratory".

And as for the Mayor of London:

"Balliol's blond bumshell [sic] seems to be favourite in this term's union presidential election, [despite being] regarded by most experts as having an intelligence somewhat lower than his shaglike fringe."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
2015 General Election
May2015

Poll of Polls

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Senior Accounts Assistant - Accounts Payable - St. Albans

£26000 - £28000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: Senior Accounts Assistan...

Ashdown Group: Treasury Assistant - Accounts Assistant - London, Old Street

£24000 - £26000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...

Recruitment Genius: Installation and Service / Security Engineer

£22000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is part of a Group...

Recruitment Genius: Service Charge Accounts Assistant

£16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you a a young, dynamic pers...

Day In a Page

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

Aviation history is littered with grand failures

But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

Fortress Europe?

Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

Never mind what you're wearing

It's what you're reclining on that matters
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence