1. A false message is spreading on Twitter and Facebook implicating David Cameron in the production of “Hang Nelson Mandela” posters during the 1980s.
3. A faction in the Federation of Conservative Students did print Hang Nelson Mandela posters during the mid-1980s.
This account explains how a faction of FCS members printed the slogan on posters, badges and stickers in 1985 without leadership approval in response to left-wing students wearing “Free Nelson Mandela” stickers.
Soon afterwards the FCS proved to be too right-wing for Norman Tebbit, who closed it down. At that time the organisation was led by future House of Commons speaker John Bercow.
4. But in 1985 Cameron was just about to start university and never did become active in student politics – so was not a “top member” of FCS, nor involved in printing the slogan.
Cameron started his degree in October 1985, after the FCS faction had printed the material. According to his biographers, Cameron was “not active in student politics” and showed little interest in Conservative student associations.
5. However, the second part of the message is true: Cameron did accept a paid-for “fact-finding mission” to South Africa under apartheid.
A 23-year-old Cameron, already working for the Conservative Research Department, travelled to South Africa in 1989 on an all-expenses trip paid for by a lobbying company that campaigned against economic sanctions imposed on the apartheid state.
Aides told the Independent on Sunday that he met with leaders from both the pro and anti-apartheid regimes during the trip but it’s probably something the Prime Minister would prefer to forget.
Cameron has since said his party was wrong to oppose sanctions on South Africa during the 1980s and adopt an anti-African National Congress stance.
6. The South Africa trip was organised by lobbyist and future Big Brother contestant Derek Laud, according to Francis Elliott’s and James Hanning’s biography of the future Prime Minister:
[Laud] invited Cameron to South Africa to ‘see for himself’ what effect sanctions would be likely to have on those who were employed in the mines and elsewhere. That the imports of cheap South African coal had helped the Thatcher administration win the miners’ strike would have been an additional attraction for Cameron, who had worked in the CRD’s economic section before being promoted.
7. This is what Cameron has said about Nelson Mandela’s death.
A great light has gone out in the world. Nelson Mandela was a hero of our time. I’ve asked for the flag at No10 to be flown at half mast.
Thank you to the staff at South Africa House where I’ve signed the Nelson Mandela book of condolence.