Oxford shadows

June 5, 1998

While Labour deploys 1960s radicals gone straight - Tessa Blackstone and Kim Howells - on the government benches, the Conservatives are hitting back with the Oxford generation of a decade later.

The three education and employment frontbenchers, all born in 1956, were almost exact contemporaries at Oxford. And while shadow education and employment secretary David Willetts cheerfully admits to have led a blameless hardworking student life involved only on the fringes of student politics, his newly-promoted juniors not only participated in the Oxford Union, but married into it.

Employment and higher education spokesman Damian Green was president of the union in 1977, while his wife Alicia Collinson was a senior officer who only narrowly missed election to the same post. Schools spokeswoman Theresa May's husband Phil was also a senior union officer.

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