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Mission groups split on higher education bill

Higher education leaders are divided on the planned schedule for the higher education and research bill following political uncertainty in the wake of the UK’s vote to leave the European Union.

The bill’s second reading is expected before parliament rises on 21 July. Some university leaders are concerned that it will not receive proper scrutiny due to fallout from the referendum, the Conservative leadership race and Labour MPs’ efforts to overthrow their leader Jeremy Corbyn.

The Million+ group of post-1992 universities is calling for the bill to be slowed down. On its present timeframe, the regulatory changes it envisages would be enacted in 2018, the same year that the final stages of a two-year Brexit process would be expected if the next prime minister invokes Article 50 of the Lisbon treaty this year. “I am concerned that during that period we will need to all be working together to stabilise the sector during the transition and to maintain appropriate oversight,” said David Phoenix, chairman of the Million+ group.

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