Debates will be centred around an array of matters, ranging from the recent 2020 US Election to ShakespeareLouis Ashworth

The Cambridge Union has released its Lent termcard this evening (18/01), with events this term featuring fitness coach Joe Wicks, comedian David Baddiel, former cabinet secretaries Amber Rudd and Rory Stewart, business leaders Theo Paphitis and Claude Littner, and broadcaster Clare Balding.

Following the announcement of a national lockdown earlier this month and the University moving all teaching and learning online this term, the Union will be holding all of its events online as it did in Easter term last year, with Union membership not required to attend. 

Speaking to Varsity about the organisation of online events this term, the Union’s President for Lent 2021, Freddie Fisk, said he hoped that the termcard would provide “something uplifting” in “a difficult time for everyone”.

One of the names which has come to be known in many households in the UK is Joe Wicks, or ‘The Body Coach’, whose weekly ‘PE with Joe’ classes helped children and families to maintain their physical and mental health during the first UK lockdown last year.

Wicks notably won a Guinness World Record for ‘Most viewers for a fitness workout live stream on YouTube’, with his class on 24th March 2020 receiving 955,185 views. He went on to receive an MBE in the Queen’s honours list in October, and has now returned to YouTube once again, with classes every Monday, Wednesday and Friday morning at 09:00 GMT.

Turning to comedy, the Union will also virtually host former Cambridge student and comedian David Baddiel. 

Baddiel graduated with a double-first in English from King’s College in 1986 and was a member of the Cambridge Footlights. Following his studies, he would become a professional stand-up comedian. 

Baddiel went on to write and produce the entertainment show Fantasy Football League with fellow comedian Frank Skinner, during which time they wrote ‘Three Lions’ with the Lightning Seeds in 1996 - the song which topped the charts during the 2018 World Cup, with ubiquitous chants of “Football’s coming home”.

The comedian has subsequently written four novels, and featured in shows including Little Britain, 8 out of 10 Cats Does Countdown and Taskmaster.

For those with an interest in British domestic politics, events including former Home Secretary Amber Rudd and former Secretary of State for International Development Rory Stewart will not disappoint.

The Rt Hon Amber Rudd was elected Conservative MP for Hastings and Rye in 2010, and held a number of ministerial positions, including those of Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department of Energy and Climate Change (2014-15) and Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change (2015-16), until she stood down from politics in the 2019 General Election.

However, she is most known for her role as Home Secretary, from the beginning of Ex-Prime Minister Theresa May’s tenure until 29th April 2018 when she resigned, stating that she inadvertently misled the Home Affairs Select Committee over targets for removing illegal immigrants during questioning on the Windrush Scandal.

Meanwhile Rory Stewart, a British diplomat, author, explorer, academic and politician, is most recently known for running for the Conservative leadership following Prime Minister May’s announcement in May 2019 that she would resign in the following month.  He was subsequently knocked out in the third round of voting with 27 votes.

Stewart then quit the Conservative Party in October 2019 to run as independent candidate for the Mayor of London. His campaign saw the launch of a ‘Come Kip With Me’ initiative where he would stay the night on Londoners’ sofas to hear about their experiences of the capital, but he withdrew from the race in May 2020 due to budgeting issues.

The Union will also host entrepreneur and tycoon Theo Paphitis, the well-known former ‘dragon’ on popular BBC Two show Dragon’s Den from 2005 to 2013, as well as business leader, former Chief Executive of Tottenham Hotspur Football Club and The Apprentice’s Claude Littner.


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And if all of that wasn’t enough, the award-winning broadcaster, journalist and author, Clare Balding, will also feature. She is known for her coverage of multiple sports events, ranging from Grand Nationals to Olympic and Paralympic Games, Wimbledon and Crufts. 

Balding also read English at Cambridge, as did Baddiel, and is a former president of the Cambridge Union.

Aside from speaker events, the Union will also be holding weekly debates every Thursday night, covering matters such as the recent 2020 US Election and the anti-racism movement, as well as lockdown and the future of the British Union. 

Other debate titles include “This House Believes Shakespeare is Much Ado About Nothing”, “This House Regrets the Fall of Rome”, and “This House Believes Judges Make Better Law Than Politicians”.

Scheduled speakers across the term will include a former No.10 chief of staff, two supreme court judges, three award-winning actors and prominent politicians.

Union President Freddie Fisk added: “When this [online events] was trialled last Easter, tens of thousands of viewers watched our events live which really boosted the quality of engagement. We’d like to recreate this lively spirit and hopefully go further with plans to invite audience members onto the virtual stage to probe our speakers.”

Fisk also informed Varsity that the Union intends to run events involving ex-footballer and pundit Gary Neville, fashion icons Stella McCartney and Tom Ford, author Michael Morpurgo, Theresa May, and a live performance from the Royal Ballet, all once doors can be re-opened for in-person events.