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Spectator business editor announced Patron of York Union

Posted on 13 August 2015

Martin Vander Weyer, Business Editor at The Spectator, will take up the role of Patron to the York Union.

Martin Vander Weyer

Raising the profile of the society, Vander Weyer will advise Union committee members on attracting distinguished public figures to debate at York.

Founded in 2013, The York Union has hosted guests including Jon Snow, Adam Boulton, Alastair Campbell, Jonathan Powell, Baroness Scotland, Dominic Grieve, Shami Chakrabarti and Lord Robert Winston. Panel debates have discussed topics as diverse as religion, the happiness agenda, Thatcherism, immigration and the welfare state.

Martin Vander Weyer is Business Editor and Columnist at The Spectator and a regular contributor to the Daily Telegraph, the Literary Review and other national publications. An author, playwright, poet and frequent public speaker, he is also a visiting Research Fellow at the University’s York Management School. Originally from Yorkshire, he is a governor of the Royal Northern College of Music, a trustee of Opera North and Helmsley Arts Centre, and formerly chaired the Ryedale Music Festival.

Martin Vander Weyer said: "I am delighted to be associated with The York Union as a Patron, and have been thrilled to watch its development over the past couple of years. Lively public debate and discussion is essential to civilised society — and done well it is also great entertainment. The York Union does it very well indeed."

Upcoming events this year include:

  • Thursday 8 October - an interview with Alan Johnson MP, a Cabinet Minister in the Labour governments of Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, who also served under Ed Miliband as Shadow Chancellor.
  • Thursday 15 October - A panel debate on prostitution featuring Julie Bindel, writer and feminist campaigner, Dr Catherine Hakim, sociologist and author specialising in women’s employment, Laura Lees, award-winning blogger and sex worker, and a fourth panellist to be announced.
  • Thursday 5 November - Panel discussion titled "Labour, Welcome to the Wilderness Years" focusing  on the Labour Party's move to the left under Ed Miliband and what it needs to do to secure electoral success. Confirmed speakers are Peter Oborne, Associate Editor of The Spectator and former Chief Political Commentator for The Telegraph, and Andrea Jenkyns MP, the Conservative who took the Morley and Outwood seat of Labour's Ed Balls at the General Election in May. Another two guest speakers are to be confirmed. 

More events are planned with the rest of this term’s calendar to be announced at a later date. For the latest information visit: and

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