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Politics – Lords weigh in on British values debate

June 2018

The government must reverse its lack of commitment to citizenship policies in the UK, and commit to making changes for a more cohesive society, a select committee has warned.

The House of Lords select committee on Citizenship and Civic Engagement, after a nine-month inquiry on shared values of British citizenship, said there was need to define these values. It also stated these values should be given more prominence in government departments and faith schools.

The committee’s report said: ‘The government claims to be committed to the promotion of fundamental British values, but has blunted their impact by identifying them to such an extent with the Prevent strategy.

‘The government should change the description “fundamental British values” to “the shared values of British citizenship”. These should be recognised as “democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and respect for the inherent worth and autonomy of every person”.’

The committee said these should be taught as important in their own right, not simply as part of a counter-terrorism policy; and a widespread debate should be encouraged on how they relate to other shared values.