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Last Updated: Thursday, 11 October 2007, 18:01 GMT 19:01 UK
'Homophobic' student Tory rapped
Harris Building, University of Central Lancashire
Mr Bowman has been suspended from university
A Conservative Party student leader has been expelled from the party and suspended from university after making homophobic comments on a website.

Fergus Bowman, 22, is a politics and religion student at the University of Central Lancashire (Uclan) in Preston.

Mr Bowman listed himself as chief political officer on a homophobic group on the social networking site Facebook.

He resigned as chairman of the student union's Conservative Future branch after his comments came to light.

The group is for Conservatives under 30 and plays an active role in recruiting and campaigning young people.

There's no place for homophobia in today's Britain
Conservative Party spokesman

Mr Bowman, a second-year student, has now been suspended from both the university and the students' union pending an investigation, and thrown out of the Conservative Party by national officials.

He had also made offensive remarks on the Facebook group's page.

A Conservative Party spokesman said: "Fergus Bowman's comments are appalling and we condemn them absolutely.

"There's no place for homophobia in today's Britain. The Conservative Party actively supports gay rights."

'Private joke'

Students' union president Chris Lowden said: "We are committed to equal opportunities.

"Fergus's comments breached our constitution. We cannot and will not tolerate such material coming out from one of our members.

"We take matters such as these very seriously and I felt it necessary to suspend Fergus while we investigate."

Mr Bowman told the Uclan newspaper Pluto he apologised for the remarks and did not mean any offence.

He said: "The comments were made as a private joke amongst colleagues in a group. It was not our intention to joke about gay people.

"I regret that the comments have caused offence and I deeply apologise to anyone who has been offended by them. I do not advocate homophobia."



SEE ALSO
Tories push online ads campaign
05 Sep 07 |  UK Politics
Lib Dems 'biggest Facebook users'
09 Aug 07 |  UK Politics
University secures campus funding
27 Apr 07 |  Lancashire

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