Lancaster University

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David Blunkett delivers Ninian Smart Annual Memorial Lecture

05/02/2006 12:01:04

The Rt Hon David Blunkett MP delivered the Ninian Smart Annual Memorial Lecture 2006 at Lancaster University.

Vice-Chancellor Professor Paul Wellsings, David Blunkett MP, Revd Canon Dr Alan Billings, Professor Paul Heelas
Vice-Chancellor Professor Paul Wellings, David Blunkett MP, Revd Canon Dr Alan Billings, Professor Paul Heelas

He spoke on "Faith Communities, Social Cohesion and Civil Renewal" on Friday 5th May.

The lecture explored the contribution that the different strong faith communities play in the civil renewal of society.

The Ninian Smart Memorial Lecture is organised by the Department of Religious Studies and is in memory of the founding professor of Religious Studies at Lancaster. Speakers have included Sir Mark Tully (former BBC correspondent in India) and the lectures have a religious theme which is of public interest.

David Blunkett was born blind and became the youngest member of Sheffield City Council, going on to lead the Council. He was elected as MP for Sheffield Brightside and was a Member of the Labour National Executive Committee. When the Labour Government was elected he became Secretary of State for Education, then Home Secretary and Secretary of State for Work and Pensions. He stepped down from the Cabinet in 2005. He writes a column in the Sun newspaper.

David Blunkett, while Home Secretary, set up the Community Cohesion Panel which looked at the inter-faith problems experienced in Bradford, Burnley and Oldham.

David Blunkett was invited to give the lecture by his friend The Revd Canon Dr Alan Billings, Anglican parish priest in Kendal and Director of the Centre for Ethics and Religion at Lancaster University. Alan Billings was Deputy Leader of Sheffield City Council when David Blunkett was Leader.