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Interpretation

Part of European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill – in the House of Commons at 6:00 pm on 8th January 2020.

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Photo of Layla Moran Layla Moran Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Education) 6:00 pm, 8th January 2020

I rise to support new clauses 10 and 29, on which we will be seeking a vote today. These should absolutely be no-brainers.

New clause 10 is about the Erasmus programme. For students, young people, those in training and staff who work in the education sector, the Erasmus scheme has been absolutely incredible. I wonder how many of us on these Benches have used that programme ourselves, or have had our children or others in our family do so. From 2014 to the end of this year alone, €1 billion has been allocated to support the UK as part of Erasmus+. New clause 10 would only require the Government to seek—to do what they say they want to do, but let us be sure—to negotiate continuing full membership of the future Erasmus education and youth programme.

We could secure access to the programme through negotiations, but we would be an associated third country and that would never be as good as the programme we are part of now. However, at least with new clause 10 this Parliament would be instructing the Government that, as part of the next phase, that is something we absolutely want.

Let us remind ourselves what Erasmus does. It allows our young people to go abroad to European universities, to learn new languages, to meet new people, to put down some roots abroad and to build the international understanding that, in my view, is a big part of what it means to be British.