Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that that reply will bring great disappointment to Hertfordshire, which is waiting to welcome the Chelsea College to its bosom? Is he aware that the City of St. Albans is ideally situated for such a university, and is especially suitable because of its ancient abbey and long historical associations?
I am well aware of the strong views held on this matter in St. Albans in particular and in Hertfordshire in general. Certainly there will not be any disappointment among well-informed people, who know quite well that I am unable to take this decision until I receive the advice of the University Grants Committee and that that Committee cannot tender its advice to me until it, in turn, has received the views of the governing body of the college on the recommendations of the Academic Advisory Committee.
When does the right hon. Gentleman expect to be in a position to make this statement? Is anything else holding up the decision, apart from the two steps to which he referred earlier?
No, Sir. Nothing more is holding it up although, as the right hon. Gentleman knows, there has been a great deal of disagreement on this subject in the past. The University Grants Committee has now received the advice of the governing body and of the Academic Advisory Committee. I hope that I will receive its views and that I will be able to reach a speedy decision.
Would my right hon. Friend give an assurance that the sites proposed for the university will be considered solely on their merits since it is the view of the new town of Stevenage that it can offer all the advantages of St. Albans and more?