FORMER Secretary of State for innovation, universities and skills, and University of Winchester professor, John Denham is set to launch the Centre for English Identity and Politics at the university next Monday.

Respected Cambridge academic professor Robert Tombs will give the keynote lecture, titled England’s Past and England’s Future. Professor Tombs, author of the acclaimed book The English and their history, looks at how the way we remember our history is shaping current debates about England’s future.

Professor Denham, director of the university’s Centre for English Identity and Politics, said: “Leading figures from politics, the media, culture and universities will all be coming to Winchester to support the work of the new centre.

“As a new sense of English identity is developing, I’m delighted to be launching this new multi-disciplinary centre of excellence at Winchester. It’s a crucial time to be exploring the concept of Englishness, and how it should be reflected in the way we are governed.

“Devolution to cities and counties, procedures in the House of Commons, the English debate about the European Union, responses to Welsh and Scottish devolution, and the organisation of political parties in England are all reflecting English concerns. The centre aims to further increase our understanding of the forces driving English identity, ask key questions about how it may be shaped and develop ideas for an inclusive, forward-facing English identity.”

“The centre is not just about academic study,” added Prof Denham. “We will be engaging with Hampshire school students, with communities organising St George’s Day festivals, and local theatre and performance arts.”

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