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Nick Robinson and Ed Balls set to speak at Durham Cathedral Institute this December

Nick Robinson and Ed Balls will be speaking at Durham Cathedral next month in a discussion exploring the future of democracy. People across the North East are invited to book a free ticket, join the debate and get involved by shaping the conversation and submitting a questions to the speakers.

The free event, which takes place on Friday 1 December at 7.30pm, is part of a series from the Durham Cathedral Institute. The Institute creates opportunities for people in the North East to discuss major social, political and ethical issues with leading experts and public figures.

As we face a tumultuous period in national and global politics, people can join the Institute to discuss these issues with Nick Robinson, one of the country’s leading journalists, and Ed Balls, a former cabinet minister and economist turned commentator and TV presenter.

The Institute is led by Reverend Canon Professor Simon Oliver, Van Mildert Professor of Divinity at Durham University, and residentiary Canon of Durham Cathedral. He says:

"This is a really timely debate with two high profile speakers, who will shine a spotlight on the condition and future prospects of our system of government. At the heart of democracy are ancient values, proclaimed throughout the Christian tradition, of protecting people from tyranny and promoting the common good of all. Yet, democracy cannot be taken for granted: polling shows that support for our system of government is at an historically low ebb, including among young people. In the UK, Brexit uncertainty, Covid-19, ‘partygate’, and five prime ministers in seven years, including the shortest-serving in history, have all impacted public confidence."

In 2024, the UK is likely to see a general election and there will be a US presidential election, which could feature Donald Trump as the Republican candidate. In the US, 2021 witnessed the storming of the Capitol Building in Washington, the seat of democratic government, whilst global politics has been marked by the rise of the political ‘strongman’, including Vladimir Putin of Russia, and increasingly autocratic and aggressive regimes.

Simon continues,

"This is a critical moment for democracy, in the UK and across the world, and we will be examining the key issues in this debate to which all are welcome. We're delighted to be hosting Ed Balls and Nick Robinson at Durham Cathedral to speak on this key topic as part of the Institute and we anticipate it being a hugely popular event."

The debate Democracy: what future? A discussion with Nick Robinson and Ed Balls takes place at Durham Cathedral on Friday 1 December at 7.30pm Free tickets can be booked online at

When booking a ticket, members of the public have the option to donate to support the work of Durham Cathedral Institute. A recording of the debate will be made available to view online after the event for those who are unable to attend in person.

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