Tory MP’s Hard Brexit warning

PUBLISHED: 11:19 18 March 2017 | UPDATED: 11:19 18 March 2017

PA Wire/PA Images

PA Wire/PA Images

PA Wire/PA Images

Tory MP issues a warning to party colleagues of the dangers of Hard Brexit, as he launches a new initiative to build bridges with Europe

We have heard many calls for what is called a Hard Brexit from our membership of the EU since the EU referendum last June. When pressed on what this means, many eurosceptics seem to relish the idea of tumbling out of our obligations with little regard for the consequences.

Already, in my role as Chair of the Education Select Committee, it is clear the consequences of leaving the EU will have a major impact on our universities. The complexity of unravelling EU relationships and funding in just the higher education sector alone should give pause for thought. That is why I welcome the Government’s recognition that whilst Britain is leaving the EU, it must not turn its back on Europe itself.

In late September 2016, the Education Committee launched an inquiry into the impact of Brexit on higher education – with the clear aim to seek to inform the public and influence the Brexit negotiations.

For this inquiry we ranged out from Westminster and held meetings in Oxford and Newcastle, hearing from university leaders, academics, students and others, as we examined what the Government’s priorities should be for the sector going into the negotiations with the EU.

There are many fears that Britain’s withdrawal from the EU will have a negative impact on higher education. Concerns range from being able to attract the brightest students from across Europe to making sure UK universities maintain their places among the world’s best. We also heard the ramifications for Britons who want to work and study at higher education institutions in the EU.

It’s not just about hard numbers or financial viability though. Sally Hunt, general secretary of the University and College Union, told the Committee that it was naive to think that the sort of rhetoric being used by politicians on immigration does not make its way around the world and have an impact on how we are viewed abroad. She warned that three-quarters of EU academics are thinking of quitting the UK as a result of the referendum, while Professor Michael Arthur, provost of University College London, revealed that applications from EU students across the sector were down more than 7%.

Dr Peter Simpson, director of the N8 Research Partnership of universities across the north of England, said that the loss of research funding would be worse felt outside of London. His group receives around £126 million from EU sources and he said they cannot expect their work to carry on regardless.

The Committee’s findings are expected to be published shortly after the triggering of Article 50 and we want them to influence the negotiations so we don’t face the Hard Brexit which could be so damaging to the working relationships universities have built up across the last four decades in Europe.

As the UK disengages from the EU I believe we must also engage with the next generation of opinion formers, policy makers and academics in remodelling and renewing the Europe in which they will live and work.

The question therefore arises – of how academics, politicians and policy makers can engage with like-minded colleagues from across the UK, Europe and beyond? In Germany, there are eleven organisations for the promotion of young talents (Begabtenförderwerke), institutes affiliated to the major parties and funded by the taxpayer, which ensure that the politics of the Federal Republic are widely understood amongst current and future leaders in other democratic nations. There has never been an equivalent initiative here, nor is there any immediate prospect of one.

To fill this vacuum I have founded Modern Europe. This is a new kind of organisation, specifically tailored to promote the UK’s influence and international relationships, and to ensure that policy makers and politicians have opportunities to learn from their peers in the many other democratic nations.

The organisation is not party political and it will operate resolutely and clearly in the public interest and in the political mainstream, promoting international dialogue. It is very much modelled upon the work carried out by the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung (KAS) and others in Germany.

We run a specific academic and student outreach programme to enable those studying international relations and politics to participate in an exchange of ideas about the challenges facing Europe in the decade ahead. The first seminar in our student programme will be held jointly with the KAS in London, bringing together German students studying in the UK with UK students.

Modern Europe understands we are leaving the EU, but recognises an important reality: “We cannot turn our backs on Europe – we are part of Europe.” Another generation will want to forge their own relationships with our friends and therefore no bridges should be burnt.

Neil Carmichael is Conservative MP for Stroud and chair of the Education Select Committee since 2015. He is also chair of the Conservative Group for Europe and founder of Modern Europe. For more information, visit www.moderneurope.co.uk

Support The New European's vital role as a voice for the 48%

The New European is proud of its journalism and we hope you are proud of it too. We believe our voice is important - both in representing the pro-EU perspective and also to help rebalance the right wing extremes of much of the UK national press. If you value what we are doing, you can help us by making a contribution to the cost of our journalism.

  • Become a friend of The New European for a contribution of £48. You will qualify for a mention in our newspaper (should you wish)
  • Become a partner of The New European for a contribution of £240. You will qualify for a mention in our newspaper (should you wish) and receive a New European Branded Pen and Notebook
  • Become a patron of The New European for a contribution of £480. You will qualify for a mention in our newspaper (should you wish) and receive a New European Branded Pen and Notebook and an A3 print of The New European front cover of your choice, signed by Editor Matt Kelly

By proceeding, you agree to the New Europeans supporters club Terms & Conditions which can be found here.



Supporter Options

Mention Me in The New European



If Yes, Name to appear in The New European



Latest articles

Trump makes Nixon look like the good guy

The US is stumbling towards an autocracy, as it emerges Donald Trump is exploring ways to pardon himself even before any accusations have been made.

What would Doctor Who do?

I find I’m just as uncomfortable with sneering schadenfreude when it’s our “side” doing it as when it comes from the opposition.

Why every philosopher’s death seems to hold meaning

The tragic drowning of French philosopher Anne Dufourmantelle while trying to rescue two stricken children has prompted tributes from across the globe.

Robert Miller update: “I don’t hate the EU… I just don’t want us to be in it”

The New European has finally decided to publish one of persistent Brexiteer Robert Miller’s letters. But was it worth the wait?

Football clubs were ethnically cleansed along with the population during the Bosnian War

The story of the Bosnian War is also the story of its football clubs which were ethnically cleansed along with the population

Fox says ‘I’ll take care of the chicken’ amid chlorine-washed meat fears

Trade secretary Liam Fox has played down claims importing foods under a new UK-US trade deal could mean a loosening of food standards post-Brexit.

Rattenkrieg 2017: How the destruction of Mosul was templated in Stalingrad

The haunting image of a ruined city is nothing new. Here we examine the horrors of urban warfare from Stalingrad to Mosul

Sexuality reality: How the first gay rights movement was destroyed

A burgeoning gay rights movement in Europe in the early decades of the 20th century was crushed by rising authoritarianism.

RIP common decency... welcome to the age of hate in belligerent Britain

We used to be a mild-mannered people. Now random spite is the cornerstone of our crumbling culture

British media fail: Why we need a new cultural education

The British media has always failed in its coverage of European affairs.

Cracks show for Labour as party fails to grasp anti-Brexit feeling of members

Labour’s Brexit divisions have become apparent once again with trade spokesman Barry Gardiner saying staying in the customs union would be a “disaster”.

Brexit will be the great environmental disaster

When it comes to Brexit and the environment our ties to the EU are complex.

What the UK means to me: “Britishness oftentimes hits me in the face”

The zealots who allow the Brexit fiasco to happen are diminishing the UK inch by inch, day by day.

Macron: the rule breaker who smashed up the system

Emmanuel Macron has been lucky. But also courageous. Here’s how the combination has led to a remarkable turnaround in previously gloomy nation

How the Dutch are falling out of love with Britain

We Dutch used to make fun of the Germans and admire the Brits, says Vanessa Lamsvelt. Now, we find ourselves laughing at, not with, the UK

Blow for Hard Brexit as Cabinet ‘unites’ behind transition deal

The Cabinet is “united” in backing a transitional Brexit deal which would mean continued access to migrant labour, Michael Gove has said.

What Euratom really stands for

The Euratom row lays bare the innate flaws of Brexit. But it also gives pro-Europeans their biggest chance yet to regain the initiative

How did Brexit Britain lose the spirit of the 2012 Olympics?

How did Brexit Britain lose the spirit of the 2012 Olympics?

Brexit could force UK to set up new healthcare scheme for tourists

Brussels is holding out on the government’s hopes of continuing membership of the European health insurance scheme post-Brexit.

Fox says UK does not need trade deal with Europe after Brexit

Brexiteer cabinet minister Liam Fox has reiterated the government’s widely ridiculed negotiating tactic of “no deal is better than a bad deal”.

Watch us on YouTube

The rollercoaster ride of Theresa May's plummeting approval ratings

Views: 325

A year of failure and fiasco in May’s Number 10

Views: 251

Tory minister Steve Baker demands the EU is to be ‘torn down’

Views: 451

Podcast

Trending

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter