Brexit: Impact on Universities and Scientific Research - Motion to Take Note

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 3:06 pm on 3rd November 2016.

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Photo of Lord Soley Lord Soley Labour 3:06 pm, 3rd November 2016

I think we all look forward to that letter, which I hope is a very full one. I thank profoundly just about every Member of this House for the thoughtful, insightful comments that have been made across the field. There is no doubt in my mind that scientific research and development are critical and they are one reason why this country has had such a leading role going back to the Industrial Revolution, when we were the first country to do that. We are continuing that process.

I do not want to delay the House, but I simply say to the Minister that he must have heard the concern in this Chamber and outside it about the uncertainty over funding and the ability of staff and students to move and keep up those transnational links that are so important to this area of society. Will he take back to Ministers, and particularly to the Prime Minister, how important that is? He might like to consider the need for a bespoke agreement covering science, research and development. There is no reason to think that the European Union wants a deal with the United Kingdom that is not also beneficial to it. It may be possible to reach a bespoke agreement at least on research and scientific development—the university aspects might be a little more difficult—but the Government need to move on this urgently if we are to maintain our position.

I am grateful to everyone, including to the Minister for his answers. I look forward to his letter.

Motion agreed.