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National Security

Volume 468: debated on Monday 3 December 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills pursuant to the statement of the Prime Minister of 14 November 2007, Official Report, columns 667-72, on national security, when he plans to invite universities to lead the debate on academic freedom and associated issues as referred to by the Prime Minister. (168442)

As a first step, I undertook to engage with the university sector by setting out my views in a lecture given to the Fabian Society on 27 November. A copy of this lecture can be found on the website of the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills. I am undertaking a number of visits to different universities to talk to students and staff about this issue as well as contact with sector bodies to encourage them to engage with and lead this debate. Academic freedom is one of the most powerful means at our disposal to challenge the views of violent extremists and to promote cohesive communities.