MICHAEL Gove must not be allowed to decide singlehandedly the ‘British values’ to be taught in British schools, a Southampton MP said.

John Denham, the Itchen MP, backed new moves to ensure all schools promote the same “shared values” in the wake of the ‘Trojan Horse’ controversy in Birmingham.

But, staging a Commons debate, Mr Denham accused the Education Secretary of undermining that work, by downgrading citizenship education.

Mr Denham said many people saw Mr Gove’s latest move as “ill-judged and counter-productive” and “more about the forthcoming election, than British values”.

And he told ministers: “British values are crucial, but they are not timeless, unchanging and cannot be taught by dictat.”

This week, Mr Gove unveiled the new rules, requiring all pupils to be taught about freedom, democracy, tolerance, respect and the rule of law.

Schools currently have to “respect” values such as tolerance for people of different faiths, but, under the new rules, to kick in from September, they must be “actively promoted”.