Boris Johnson’s push for a General Election on Thursday, 12 December is going to clash with one of the biggest annual events for his former university, Oxford.
The day the country is expected to go to the polls is the same as the 138th Varsity Match between Oxford and Cambridge at Twickenham Stadium. The game, which is due to be broadcast live on television, will be preceded by the 33rd Women’s Varsity Match and is expected to attract a crowd in excess of 22,000.
“Our regulars and other sports fans will be able to organise a postal vote, or go to vote early and then come over to Twickenham for a great day out, as a welcome distraction. They can watch two first-class rugby matches, including one of the few Women’s matches played at Twickenham” said Varsity Match organiser Jeremy Macklin.
“Ticket sales have been good to date and with the World Cup final in Japan the game of rugby union is entering almost as many conversations as Brexit.
“It will be the first time since our fixture began in 1872 that a General Election has been staged on the same day, although in 1885 and 1910 the game was played during the period of the elections in those years.
“In 1885, the election ran from 24 November to 18 December and our game at Blackheath was played on 16 December. Cambridge won that one.
“In 1910, when Oxford won 23-18 at Queen’s Club, the game was played on 13 December. Polling on that occasion took place between 3-19 December.
“On the last occasion that an election was held in December, in 1923, Oxford were 21-14 winners at Twickenham. That was five days after the country had returned a Conservative government with Stanley Baldwin, an ex-Cambridge student, as the Prime Minister.”
Oxford won last year’s men’s Varsity Match and Cambridge won the women’s match.