THE men-only annual Presidents' Club ‘gala’ at the Dorchester Hotel for leaders in industry and finance has been held for over 30 years now.

So full credit to the Financial Times for revealing what goes on during these invite-only “charity fundraisers”.

The allegations of grotesque groping and molesting of women employed to attend on the men was considered by Prime Minister Theresa May to be sufficiently serious to cause her to reprimand a government minister who attended (but left early feeling “uncomfortable").

She said she was “appalled” and “thought that sort of approach to women, that objectification of women, was something we had left behind”.

Ex-Director General of the CBI Sir Digby Jones said it brought undeserved shame on all industry leaders by association. Charities (including Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital) have said they will return any money donated after being made aware of the true nature of the ‘gala’. The Charity Commission is investigating “as a matter of urgency”.

Following the exposures the Presidents’ Club has been disbanded.

In the light of all this, Bolton TUC officers ask the following questions of the Vice Chancellor of the University of Bolton, Prof George Holmes:

Why did he not know what this ‘gala’ involved?

Why did he not leave early, as the government minister did (who was nevertheless reprimanded for attending in the first place)?

Who were the prominent business people who paid for his ticket, and with whom he felt obliged to ‘network’?

What made this sordid venue a special place to ‘network’?

Will he meet staff and students to explain this stain on the reputation of UoB?

We would also ask those Bolton councillors awarded honorary degrees from the University of Bolton whether they propose to take any action.

This is especially important as this includes both the leader and deputy leader of the Labour Party, Cllrs Linda Thomas and Ibrahim Adia.

They should follow the lead of Jeremy Corbyn, who has asked Lord Mandelson to stand down from the Labour front bench for attending the event, despite his claim to have seen nothing.

Here is a matter that has been met with revulsion and wrath from across the political spectrum.

A speedy response is required from the university and Bolton councillors.

Tom Hanley

Media Correspondent

Bolton TUC