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Just when you thought it was safe to go back into the Royal Institution

A new front has opened up in the war for the future of the Royal Institution, which appeared to be over just 24 hours ago.

When the RI announced it had settled its legal dispute with former director Susan Greenfield yesterday it looked like the bitter dispute between the two parties was over. Greenfield’s supporters had failed earlier this year in an attempt to convince the institution’s members to vote out the current council, which sacked the Baroness in January.

However, an undated letter (which may well have been posted before the settlement) has now arrived on the desks and doormats of RI members concerning the forthcoming election for new council members; this implies that a new attempt to seize control may be taking place.

According to the letter, signed by council secretary Alan Maries, there are two current council members up for re-election and three candidates invited to join. Then there are five other candidates nominated who “to a greater or lesser extent” supported the recent attempt to oust the council.

“It the absence of any other explanation, it is to be expected that those candidates will have the same objective as the group that supported the requisition,” writes Maries. The requisition was the procedure used in the attempt to remove the council.

And while Maries says the council “does not consider it would be appropriate to recommend that members vote in favour of particular candidates and against others” his letter does note that “it would be fair to say that the council did not welcome the nominations from those who supported the requisition”.


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