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Cambridge Union to host Julian Assange despite invitation fallout

Published 23/10/2015

Julian Assange will address the Cambridge Union
Julian Assange will address the Cambridge Union

The Cambridge University debating society is to host Julian Assange despite a fall-out over the invitation to the WikiLeaks founder.

Mr Assange was scheduled to appear before the 200-year-old student-led Cambridge Union society by video-link next month.

The union decided to hold a vote over the decision to host the controversial campaigner, who has been living in the embassy of Ecuador in London since 2013 following accusations of sexual offences in Sweden.

The move led to the resignation of Helen Dallas, the society's women's officer for the current term.

But union president Oliver Mosley announced on Friday that Mr Assange will appear on November 11 after 77% of members voted in favour.

Mr Mosley said: " With record turnout, they have clearly stated that they believe the union should host Assange.

"The unique nature of this situation means that this does not set a precedent for future invitations, but this matter has now been decided.

"The format of the coming event will be announced closer to the time, and the union will ensure that it can act as a platform for those that wish to criticise or question, as has been the case so many times in the past. "

Mr Assange previously addressed the Cambridge Union in 2011 but journalists were barred from that event on the basis it is a private members' club.

Speaking at the time, the then president Lauren Davidson said: ''We create intimate settings and many speakers accept our invitations on the basis that they can speak frankly and personally to a contained group of union members.

''A lack of press presence is our default position, as opposed to the other way around.''

It is not yet clear whether journalists will be able to attend the latest event.

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