Press release

MillionPlus comment ahead of the triggering of Article 50

28 Mar 2017

In advance of the Prime Minister Theresa May’s formal triggering of Article 50, beginning the process of the UK’s exit from the EU, MillionPlus, the Association for Modern Universities, today (28 March) argues that universities in the UK are still no wiser about what the government is seeking to negotiate on their behalf and calls for greater transparency from Ministers.

Pam Tatlow, Chief Executive of MillionPlus, said:

"It is all very well Ministers saying that they do not want to reveal their hand, but key sectors of the British economy should at least have some idea what cards the government is intending to play in negotiations to leave the EU. Universities, research, science facilities and students all have an interest in what happens next, but 10 months on from the referendum there is still no agreement about key objectives and how they might be achieved.

"Membership of the EU has provided universities with access to a market of 500 million people, funding streams, collaborations, student mobility and regulatory and qualification frameworks. It is naive to think that these can be easily replaced by free trade agreements with other countries or that universities should not be more involved in discussions around the UK government's negotiation strategy, including in areas such as citizenship and immigration. Once Article 50 has been formally triggered there needs to be more transparency and joined up thinking if Ministers are to retain the confidence of universities, students and the scientific community.

“The government should also think again before ruling out completely a role for the European Court of Justice, whose jurisdiction involves regulatory disputes and not just employment law.”


Notes to editors

  1. MillionPlus is the Association for Modern Universities. More information can be found at
  2. The policy briefing Trade in HE services and research - negotiating Brexit was published by MillionPlus in October 2016. It is available here
  3. For further information or to arrange an interview, please contact Dan Blows on 020 7717 1658 or email