Attendance at in-person Union events will be determined via a balloting system due to Covid-19 social distancing restrictionsLouis Ashworth

The Cambridge Union released its’ Michaelmas termcard this morning (03/10), with events this term featuring reality TV star Gemma Collins, former Prime Minister Theresa May and Senator Ted Cruz, who came second in the Republication Party’s presidential primary in 2016.

The termcard features a number of well-known and distinguished speakers across the world of politics, television, music and sport.

The Union will host a mixture of in-person and virtual events during the term. Attendance at in-person events will be decided via a ballot to ensure that there are no queues outside the Union. Attendees will be required to social distance, wear masks and sanitise hands on entry. Following the event the chamber as well as common touch areas will be decontaminated.

Among the most eye-catching speakers is former prime minister Theresa May, who will be speaking to the Union on the 20th of November. May had a controversial tenure, becoming Prime Minister after her predecessor, David Cameron, stepped down following the Brexit referendum. In a similar vein, May quit in mid-2019 after her withdrawal bill continually failed to pass through Parliament.

The termcard also features a number of influential global leaders outside the UK, including Julia Gillard, the former and only female Prime Minister of Australia, who will speak to the Union at 10am on October 7th.

Leo Vardarkar, who was Taoiseach and Minister for Defence from 2017 to 2020 will address the Union at a date to be confirmed. Varadkar was the first and only openly gay Taoiseach and now serves as Tanaiste, the deputy head of the Irish government.

Similarly, former Brazilian President Lula will also be a speaker at a date to be confirmed; the Union describes Lula’s tenure as one being marked by “transformative social policies, including Bolsa Família and Fome Zero, which tried to combat poverty and improve the condition of the country’s working class.”

Another political speaker will be Senator Ted Cruz, who will hold a virtual talk on the 18th of November, just over two weeks after the US presidential election. Cruz is described by the Union as “one of the most influential American senators”, most notable for his runner-up position in the 2016 Republican presidential primary and for his 21 hour filibuster on the Senate floor in 2013 against Obama’s healthcare plans.

Many figures from outside the political sphere are also speaking at the Union this term. Perhaps most striking is reality-TV star Gemma Collins who will speak to the Union on 2nd December. Collins joined BAFTA award-winning TV show The Only Way is Essex in 2011 and has since established a plus-sized fashion boutique, published two books and created her own brand of perfume. She has over 1.2 million followers on Twitter and 2 million on Instagram

In music, Emeli Sandé will address the union on 30th November. Sandé has won four BRIT and three MOBO awards for her R&B, soul and gospel works. Her debut album, ‘Our Version of Events’ spent ten weeks at number one and was the best-selling album of 2012.

Meanwhile Maverick Sabre, the singer, songwriter and rapper, will speak to the Union on Monday 26th October. Sabre’s debut album sold over 250,000 copies and landed at number 2 on the UK album charts.

Similarly, Rita Ekwere, known professionally as Ray BLK, will speak to the Union on Friday 16th October at 7pm. BLK, her stage surname, stands for ‘Building Living Knowing’, which she describes as her three main values.

Another TV personality speaking to the Union this term is Claude Littner. Littner, who will speak on Monday 16th November, has appeared on all fifteen series of The Apprentice, chaired Amstrad International, and served as Chief Executive of Tottenham Hotspur Football Club - all this after being told he had just six months to live in 1997 after being diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma.

Jameela Jamil and Rainn Wilson will both speak virtually at the Union during the term too. Jamil - an actress, model, writer and activist best known for her role as Tahani in NBC’s critically acclaimed ‘The Good Place’ - will speak on Monday 19th October while Wilson, an actor best known for playing Dwight Schrute in NBC’s The Office, will speak on Monday 2nd November.


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Debates will be also held at the Union, the first of which will be on 8th October. The motion is ‘This House Has No Confidence in Her Majesty’s Government’ and features three current MPs: Andrea Leadsom, Jonathan Renyolds and Tan Dhesi.

Later in the term Joshua Wong will argue that ‘Free Speech is Dead’. Wong is a student activist and politician from Hong Kong, who first rose to international prominence during the 2014 Hong Kong protests. He has played a major role in both the Umbrella Movement, and in persuading US politicians to pass the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act during the 2019 protests.