Theresa May's Brexit deal defeated in Parliament

Paul Nurse

On Tuesday 15 January, Prime Minister Theresa May's Brexit deal was defeated in Parliament, leading to uncertainty over the UK's future relatioship with the European Union.

Paul Nurse, Director of the Francis Crick Institute, said:

“Following the vote, it’s critical that government does everything in its power to avoid a no-deal Brexit. Our scientists unanimously agree that no-deal would be a disaster.

"International collaboration is crucial to modern science, and the UK has particularly close research links with the EU. For British science to hold onto its world-leading position after Brexit, scientists must be able to move easily across Europe, participate fully in EU programmes and work seamlessly with partners across the channel. The best way to do this would be to remain in the EU but, if we must leave, we urgently need a deal to provide certainty in these areas.

“The Crick is prepared for the short-term impacts of no-deal. We are covering the costs of the EU settlement scheme for our European staff and their families, who make up 40% of our scientific workforce, and we have measures in place to ensure that our science can continue uninterrupted if our supply chain is disrupted.

“However, the long-term impact of no-deal on science and society would set back scientific progress significantly. We need a deal that not only allows the best scientists to come and work here but also encourages them to stay and makes them feel welcome. While the Crick is still attracting world class scientists in spite of Brexit, we are beginning to see European scientists planning to return to their home countries after they finish their PhDs or postdocs at the Crick.”

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