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Brexit pushing academia towards Lib Dems, says senior MP

Layla Moran, the Liberal Democrats’ education spokesperson and MP for Oxford West and Abingdon, has said that Brexit fears are leading to a groundswell of support for the party among academics and students.

Writing in an exclusive article for Research Fortnight’s sister publication HE before the party’s autumn conference in Bournemouth (above), Moran noted that a survey by YouthSight had shown a fall in support for the Labour Party among students by more than 30 percentage points in the past 18 months. Meanwhile, there has been a surge in backing for the Lib Dems, with more than 20 per cent of students supporting the party—double the figure seen 12 months ago.

In recent months, concerns about the possibility of a no-deal Brexit have increased among academics, with many fearing the loss of access to Horizon Europe, the European Union’s next R&D funding programme, as well as the student exchange programme Erasmus+. After Brexit, the UK could potentially access these programmes as an associate member—but how much this would cost and the extent to which the UK would be able to participate is yet to be negotiated.

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