Former Erasmus student and Tory MP criticised for voting against scheme

PUBLISHED: 09:53 10 January 2020 | UPDATED: 13:14 10 January 2020

Suella Braverman appears on Sky News. Photograph: Sky.

Suella Braverman appears on Sky News. Photograph: Sky.

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A Tory MP who previously participated in the Erasmus scheme as a student has been criticised for voting against protecting the UK’s membership of the scheme in a key Brexit vote.

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Tory Brexiteer Suella Braverman took up the study abroad scheme while she was studying at Queens' College in Cambridge.

It allowed Braverman to spend one of her university years studying in the EU - enabling her to participate in her Masters degree of European and French law at Pantheon-Sorbonne University.

But rather than acknowledge the benefits of the scheme, she failed to vote with 254 MPs for an amendment to urge the government to seek to continue membership of the scheme.

The government has said it will consider the future of Erasmus+ as part of negotiations with the European Union in the next phase of Brexit.

A Department for Education spokesperson said: "As we enter negotiations with the EU, we want to ensure that UK and European students can continue to benefit from each other's world-leading education systems."

They added it "is committed to continuing the academic relationship between the UK and the EU, including through the next Erasmus+ programme if it is in our interests to do so".

Consequently Braverman was one of 344 MPs not to vote for the amendment, leaving Twitter users unimpressed by the MP's move.

"Pulling the ladder up behind her", said Chris Clee.

"Gosh, what a pity. It's such a wonderful programme for bringing people together," tweeted Gavin Barrett.

MORE: Academics react as MPs vote against Erasmus study abroad scheme

"Absolutely typical of these hideous Tories; pulling up the ladder behind them. So much for seeking to heal the divisions and seeking a close relationship with the EU," said one.

"Be good to know though if you will be pushing for Erasmus to feature in the final agreement?" asked a constituent in a tweet to Braverman.

"What a mean-spirited, churlish act to deny others the opportunities had by her and our present generations," said Roger Harrison.

Braverman responded to The New European by claiming such criticisms were an attempt to "scaremonger by those who still don't accept the results of the general election or the referendum".

She said: "I am very grateful to have benefitted from the Erasmus scheme as an undergraduate student. It is a great example of how educational exchange can enhance students' understanding of other European countries.

"However, it is totally incorrect to suggest that my vote yesterday was one to prevent others from enjoying similar opportunities in the future."

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