A debate featuring controversial historian David Irving at the Oxford Union - first opposed by the Oxford Mail - has been cancelled.

There were fears that his appearance before the famed society would lead to clashes between his far right supporters and anti-Nazi campaigners.

A protest against the visit outside Frewin Court had been planned and extra police were to be drafted in to keep the peace amid fears of clashes between the rival factions and attacks on ethnic minorities.

The Oxford Mail was the first to condemn the visit.

Mr Irving, 63, who was branded a racist and anti-semitic during a High Court libel case last year, believes the Holocaust did not happen.

His visit, which is now the second to be cancelled by the union, was to enable him to contribute to a debate entitled: "This house would restrict the free speech of extremists."

But the invitation sparked vehement opposition from the Oxford University Student Union members, which voted for the invitation to be withdrawn.

OUSU spokesman Stuart Hudson said: "The overwhelming concern was that there would be violence against members of the public and students from ethic backgrounds, as well as the disabled.

"We're delighted that the talk has been cancelled and that the Union has withdrawn its invitation.

"Mr Irving still has free speech - he can write in newspapers and stand on Hyde Park Corner - but the main issue for us was safety."

Oxford Union president Amy Harland accused opponents of the visit of using the threat of violence to get their way.