Layla Moran, Lib Dem MP for Oxford West and Abingdon, this evening pressed two amendments to the Withdrawal Agreement Bill to protect environmental standards, workers’ rights and the Erasmus study scheme after Brexit.
Moran called continued access to the Erasmus+ and future Erasmus scheme a “no-brainer”, pointing out the benefits it brings in terms of skills, investment and social mobility. After Brexit the UK could maintain access to the programme as an ‘associated third country’, and the amendment tabled by Layla would have required the Government to seek to negotiate full membership on existing terms.
The MP spoke of the importance of research funding through the Horizon 2020 programme also, pointing out the importance of the EU and other countries for international collaboration in important fields.
Layla also spoke about the importance of maintaining the level playing field with the EU after Brexit on environmental standards, as well as workers’ and consumer rights. The Lib Dem reminded MPs of the consequences of not maintaining good environmental standards in particular, citing the devastating Australian wildfires as an example.
Both amendments were voted on in the Commons, with no Conservative MPs voting for the measures.
Commenting, Layla said:
“Unfortunately, the Government didn’t back our amendments to safeguard environmental standards, protect workers’ rights and ensure we still have access to the incredibly valuable Erasmus scheme after Brexit.
“During the election the Tories talked of ‘superseding’ the EU’s environmental standards, so backing our amendment to at least match them would be the minimum standard.
“They need to show they are serious about these programmes, but instead they continue to leave the door open to lowering standards and depriving our young people and others, especially those from poorer backgrounds, of the opportunities Erasmus brings.
“I and the Liberal Democrats will continue to press on these issues, as the consequences of inaction by the Government will be disastrous.”
The full text of Layla’s speech in the Commons can be read on Hansard here
The full text of the two amendments, NC10 (Erasmus+) and NC29 (level playing field) can be read online here.
Voting records can be read here.