The Piers Gaveston society – the scene of David Cameron’s alleged porcine initiation ceremony – is an Oxford group notorious for the exclusivity of its invitations and the debauchery of its events.
Photos of its parties in the 1980s and 1990s show guests including Hugh Grant, Nigella Lawson and Nat Rothschild in a variety of costumes looking considerably worse for wear.
But sources inside Oxford cast doubt on the specific claims recounted in Lord Ashcroft’s book – saying the scenes described do not match what is known about the club.
For one, the Piers Gaveston, which was formed in 1977 and named after a favourite and supposed lover of Edward II, is not a “drinking society” or “club” of the Bullingdon type.
Its activities are limited almost entirely to organising a large end of year party for upper-class Oxford students to celebrate the end of exams.
One insider said: “The Gav [as the club is colloquially known] doesn’t have initiations like other societies – it’s not like that at all, really. Maybe this happened at a Gav event, but I’ve never seen anyone in the Gav do something like that, or even heard of it. Drugs and some tame sex in bushes, maybe. But I’m not sure I believe the story.”
One former student who attended last year’s event described the party as, drug-fuelled but nowhere near as depraved as it has been portrayed by some.
They told The Independent: “They pick you up in a minibus, confiscate people’s phones to avoid pictures being taken and drive you out into someone’s countryside for a massive party. Everyone gets smashed and a lot of people hook up. Everyone knows drugs are very easy to find; including hard drugs.
“Sometimes you’ll see people having sex in public, but it has been played up as a massive orgy. If you’re after that, you’ll be disappointed.’
Another well-placed source, when asked if he believed the claims, said: “Not completely. I imagine how the story came about – there was some sexual debauchery at a Piers Gav party, a pig was around and people have added 2 and 2 to get 5.”
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