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NUS Officer Seen In Al Jazeera Sting 'Cleared' Of Wrongdoing

'By most people's standards it was a sharp start to elections season.'

28/02/2017 14:57 GMT | Updated 28/02/2017 14:59 GMT

An NUS officer seen in an Al Jazeera documentary which found an alleged plot to oust the organisation’s president has been provisionally ‘cleared’ of wrongdoing.

Richard Brooks, the vice president of union development, had met an undercover reporter who asked for help in removing National Union of Students President Malia Bouattia from power. 

Brooks denied he had done anything improper by meeting the reporter, who he believed was a student, and referred himself to an investigator.

Al Jazeera
Richard Brooks was caught in an undercover sting apparently offering to help oust the NUS president. He's now been cleared of wrongdoing

Announcing their findings, Brooks wrote: “I am grateful to announce that – as I hoped – I have been cleared of any allegations put to me.

“I have not broken any of NUS’ rules by doing what is part of my job description – campaigning and partaking in democracy – as literally every single other NUS Officer does.

“I have not broken the law by meeting a guy who said he was a student for coffee.”

The Al Jazeera documentary, ‘The Lobby’, aired in January and targeted Shai Masot, a senior political advisor at the Israeli embassy in London.

The news organisation said it found evidence that Israel’s sphere of political influence encompassed even student organisations in Britain. 

The documentary suggested Brooks and another NUS officer had received funding from the Israeli embassy.

“I do not work on behalf of the Israeli Government. I have never met anyone from the Israeli Government. I have not accepted funds from the Israeli Government. It is a lie to say or infer otherwise,” Brooks wrote.

Bouattia, 28, is the organisation’s first black Muslim woman president and has caused controversy in the past over her previous statements about large Jewish societies at universities.

NUS
Malia Bouattia is the organisation’s first black Muslim woman president

Last month, as controversy over the footage grew, Brooks told The Huffington Post UK he had “never hid” his disagreement with Bouattia and that it was “no secret” NUS officers engage in political organisation.

In his latest statement, Brooks criticises those on the “hard left” within NUS employing a “poisonous way of doing politics”.

“For those to whom it is their benefit to keep NUS in the status quo of Russell Group and large HE Students’ Unions with far left politics – I am a problem,” he wrote.

“This was a scare tactic, pure and simple.”