Rumour muddles ministers

September 29, 2006

The rumour mill is already busy in the build-up to Oxford University's big vote on its governance reforms, which is set for mid-November.

Academics fear that if the reforms are defeated, the Government will bring in a royal commission to force change at the university. But when asked about this at the Labour Party conference, both Alan Johnson, the Education Secretary, and Bill Rammell, the Higher Education Minister, expressed surprise.

"I know that Oxford is having difficulties on this compared with Cambridge University," said a puzzled Mr Johnson, "but I certainly hadn't considered a commission."

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