Updates from the Branch

  • A devastating consequence of Putin’s invasion has been millions of people forced to flee Ukraine.

    In just the first 3 weeks since the conflict started three million people have been forced to leave their homes in Ukraine to find a place of safety.

    Right now, in response to this humanitarian crisis European solidarity, collaboration, and action could not be more important. And that’s why our latest event brought together organisations working on the front lines with refugees to discuss - What can we, as Europeans, do?

    You can watch the event here: 

    In the face of a humanitarian crisis like this, it is easy to feel overwhelmed. But already we have been moved by the response of individuals across the UK and Europe who want to help.

    During the event, we asked every organisation who was a part of the event what European Movement UK supporters, activists, and members can do to help. You can watch back here to find out more, or we have put together a list of actions that you can take right now: 


    Here’s how you can help: 

    • Ask your MP to act 

    Ukraine is under attack. Appallingly, so is the UK's refugee protection system. You can ask your MP to stand with refugees here on Refugee Action's website and against the punishment the Anti-Refugee Bill promises to dish out to people seeking safety.


    • Do you speak Ukrainian? 

    If you speak Ukrainian or Russian, you can help by volunteering your time and helping to get clear and simple information to refugees in Ukrainian and Russian. 

    You can volunteer with Care4Calais here or Settled here

    Or you could even work in the Settled team by contacting them at this email address: [email protected].


    • Chip in to help the work of people supporting refugees 

    Your support could make a real difference to refugees who have been forced to flee. You can donate or fundraise for various charities, including the ones that took part in the event: 


    • Host a refugee in your home. 

    We have been amazed by the response of individuals who want to help. Over the past 24 hours in the UK, we've seen over 100,000 families register to offer a place in their homes to people or families who need a place to stay. You can do this here.


    • Attend more events in our Ukraine series

    This week’s event was just one of many in our series on Ukraine. If you would like to attend events like this in the future, you will have access to our exclusive member events by becoming a member. 

    We will be hosting more events in this “What Putin's invasion of Ukraine means for Europe” series, become a member now to avoid missing out:

  • Andrew Brown, a farmer in Rutland, discusses the details of the Australia Deal announced this week.

    If you have seen the European Movement's social media posts today, you already know the Great British Sell Off is well underway.

    This week the UK government has signed a trade deal with Australia that removes tariffs on meat imports produced to a much lower standard.

    Boris Johnson’s own manifesto committed to protecting British food standards. Instead they are undercutting British farmers who will not be able to compete with these imports produced elsewhere using methods that are rightly banned in the UK.

    Not only are farmers’ livelihoods at risk, but it also means a race to the bottom in standards for the food on your plate.

    Here are just some of the key differences in standards between food produced in Australia and the UK: 

    • Animal welfare: As part of the EU, the UK has long prevented hormone-reared beef being sold here and outlawed ‘mulesing’ - the removal of a sheep’s skin while it is still alive. But 40% of Australian beef supply is treated with hormones, causing animals to suffer, and Australia allows ‘mulesing’ to continue.

    • Threats to our health: intensively using antibiotics in farming can lead to deadly diseases becoming resistant to antibiotics that are crucial to saving lives. They are banned for use in UK farming, but they are used regularly in the Australian industry.

    • Pesticides: UK pesticide standards - although not perfect - are some of the strongest in the world. Australia's standards are far weaker. For example, an Australian apple can have as much as 30 times the amount of toxic insecticide buprofezin than a UK apple.

    Liz Truss and Boris Johnson are so keen to rush through trade deals without proper scrutiny that they are willing to risk undercutting our farmers and weaken our proud British standards – and for what?

    Australia accounts for just 1.6% of UK exports, and even the UK government predicts it will only grow the economy by 0.02% over 15 years.

    Farmers like me have been put in an impossible catch-22 situation. If we then drop our own standards to compete with low quality imports we will lose access to the EU market which accounts for 60% of our produce exports.  

    This deal could become a template for trade deals with other countries like New Zealand and the US. Whilst the government continues to negotiate trade deals we must get this message across: it is not worth selling off our standards for a trade deal worth a fraction of our trade on the EU market! 

    This is a fight we simply cannot afford to lose if we want to prevent our proud standards from being torn apart in the Great British Sell Off.  

    That is why we are teaming up with Save British Farming to organise demonstrations and create noise around this critical issue.

    Our activists will be standing with our farmers as they fight against the weakening of our food and farming standards. If you want to get involved, please sign up here.

    When we speak with one voice, we can defend our European values.

  • Andrew Brown, a farmer in Rutland, discusses his concerns about the Australia Free trade deal agreed today. 

    As a farmer, today I feel like I have been betrayed by our government. Today it was reported that the government will offer Australia a free trade deal that will phase out import tariffs over the next 15 years.  

    Farmers like me have been begging the government not to do this, not just for the sake of UK farming that will not survive being undercut by cheap imports from Australia, but also for the sake of our consumers - people like you 

    Zero tariff trade with Australia with no quota restrictions will mean that food produced using methods that are illegal in the UK will be sold at prices that undercut UK produce in our supermarkets. I am proud of the UK’s high environmental and animal welfare standards. But as things stand, UK farmers face being undercut by food produced at lower standards and consumers will be eating hormone-fed beef.  

    I am furious and it is time for us to take a stand. Boris Johnson’s government promised that British farming would be protected. They told us that sustainability was a priority for them, but actions speak louder than words and I simply don’t believe them. 

    As part of today's Action Day, I am asking you to take action and write to your MP and tell them that you will not stand by and let damaging deals like the Australia trade deal drive down British standards. 

    I will write to my MP

    Thank you for standing up for British farming, Using the European Movement’s tool, it takes just five minutes to send an email to your MP but if we all do it together, we could have a huge impact. 



  • Musicians 

    Listen to Sophia Rahman a classical pianist from London, talk about how Brexit has impacted her and other musicians like her. 

  • published 100 Days of Brexit in News from European Movement UK 2021-04-09 22:29:57 +0100

    By Jane Thomas

    Jane Thomas, European Movement UK activist and board member, explores the impact of Brexit in the first 100 days.

    Read More

  • The European Movement UK is pleased to announce that former Labour cabinet minister and head of the No 10 Policy Unit, Lord Andrew Adonis, is the new chair of European Movement UK. 

    The European Movement's members are fighting for our relationship with Europe, will you join them?


    Paul Lomas, Chair of the Nominations Committee, said: “The European Movement is delighted that Andrew has been elected as the next Chair.

    “We conducted a wide and open search process which led to a slate of exceptional candidates. We were enormously encouraged by the depth of support for the Movement across a wide range of senior and highly qualified people. Three outstanding candidates were put forward to the National Council for election.   

    “Andrew has exceptional experience, skills and public recognition. We are confident that, under his leadership, we can accelerate our recent outstanding membership growth and substantially move the opinion of the British people, and in Westminster, even further in favour of the UK resuming its natural place at the heart of Europe.


    Andrew Adonis, chair of European Movement UK, said: It is an honour and a challenge to become chair of the European Movement at this time of crisis in Britain’s relations with Europe. Churchill founded the European Movement to bring Britain and continental Europe closer together - socially, economically and politically - after the horrors of the Second World War and the Holocaust. We have a duty to seek to do the same again after the experience of COVID19 and Brexit, faced with the twin emergencies of climate change and a global slump.

    “We will campaign strongly to put right the immediate failings of Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal, including the lack of automatic EU work visas for artists, musicians, engineers and architects; the absence of EU market access for our huge financial and business services industries; and the end of our membership of the Erasmus scheme for student exchanges. Millions are affected and we need to change these damaging policies as soon as possible, which almost no one voted for as part of Brexit.” 


    Ahead of Building Bridges Conference

    The appointment follows the decision by the Rt Hon Stephen Dorrell to step back from the position of chair at the movement’s annual general meeting in November 2020. The Movement wants publicly to thank Stephen for all that it has achieved under his adroit leadership and guidance over the past few traumatic years.

    Andrew Adonis’s appointment takes place at an exciting time for European Movement UK, ahead of their ‘Building Bridges, Not Barriers’ conference,’ which will bring together politicians, high profile campaigners and thousands of activists at the end of March to forge a path back to Europe together.    


    Three new members co-opted onto the National Executive Committee

    The co-option of three new members of European Movement UK’s National Executive Committee was also approved by the National Council on Saturday. Former MEPs Molly Scott-Cato and Sajjad Karim, and European Movement UK activist Jane Thomas, will join the board from March.

    Anna Bird, Chief Executive of European Movement UK, said: Molly, Saj and Jane are great new appointments to the National Executive, and bring a wealth of pro-European campaigning experience. They will help us in modernising European Movement UK as we seek to build a more diverse, plural movement that better represents our communities and our country. 


    Meet the newest members of our National Executive Committee

    Find out a little more about the members elected and co-opted last night:

    • Lord Andrew Adonis iformer Labour cabinet minister and ex-head of the No 10 Policy UnitHe is also a former chair of the National Infrastructure Commission, the Institute for Public Policy Research, and the social worker recruitment charity Frontline. Andrew Adonis is a vocal and prominent pro-European, and one of the most forensic opponents of Brexit in parliament. He is a former Vice-Chair of European Movement UK.
    • Molly Scott Cato was formerly Green MEP for South West England, and is the Green Party spokesperson on Finance and on Brexit. She is a leading pro-European voice in the Green Party and a long-standing pro-EU campaigner. Molly Scott Cato works as a Professor of Green Economics at the University of Roehampton.
    • Sajjad Karim was MEP for North-West England from 2004-2007, for the Liberal Democrats, and then the Conservatives 2007-2019. He was Group Spokesman to the WTO and for Legal Affairs. He is a pro-EU campaigner, previous Chair of Conservatives for a People's Vote and current Chair of Trade in the Conservative European Forum. Sajjad Karim is the CEO of Haider Global BVBA and Senior Director at Euros/Agency Group. He is a former senior partner at Marsden’s Solicitors and was previously a member of The Law Society’s Equal Opportunities Committee.
    • Jane Thomas is a European Movement UK activist who ran the Remain campaign for the 2016 referendum in Sheffield and helped to establish Sheffield for Europe. Jane Thomas is a former university lecturer in British and American politics, a member of the Labour Party, former parliamentary candidate and ex-member of Labour’s National Policy Forum and Yorkshire Regional Board. Jane Thomas helped to establish and then coordinated the Brexit Civil Society Alliance.   


    Join the new Chair at their first event, the 2021 European Movement Virtual Conference: 



  • Brexit Reality: How’s it looking?

    Brexit One Week On

    A week ago the UK fully left the EU. The moment we all campaigned against, warned about and feared the consequences of became reality – and it’s every bit as bad as forecast.

    Here are just some examples of the impact of Brexit in just its first week:

    1. Several UK companies have paused trading with the EU and some have given up entirely
    2. Many EU businesses have stopped deliveries to UK customers because of Brexit
    3. €6 billion of EU share trading has moved away from the City and is lost for good
    4. The loss of passporting rights on January 1 has put the financial services sector (7% of the UK economy) at risk
    5. The cost of sending a package from the UK to the EU has risen dramatically - up by more than £100!
    6. New customs declarations mean more red tape and higher costs for UK businesses
    7. More costs, paperwork, delays and limits on travel to the EU, including a reduction in free healthcare and the return of roaming charges
    8. The UK on January 1 repealed the EU directive on cross-border tax arrangements, risking more tax avoidance and lower tax revenues
    9. British musicians touring Europe will now face increased costs and paperwork, and more red tape to cover equipment and crew
    10. Not Lovin (Brex)It! Due to supply chains following Brexit, there have already been food shortages, including at McDonald's

    The response of Brexiters to all this has, of course, been to bury their heads in the sand, ignore what’s actually been happening and try to claim some ‘Brexit bonuses’ – claims that, of course, fall apart, as outlined below.

    "Brexit Benefit" Claims v The Reality:

    • ‘Benefit’ 1: “Brexit has enabled UK to axe the ‘Tampon Tax’”

    Reality: The Free Periods campaign group said it was "misleading" for the UK government to say Brexit was necessary to eliminate VAT on menstrual products. Ireland does not have VAT on sanitary products, and an EU-wide ban will be implemented soon.

    • ‘Benefit’ 2: “Brexit means we can now ban Pulse Fishing”

    Reality: France and Belgium have already outlawed the practice in their territorial waters. The UK could have done the same when it was still a member of the EU. An EU-wide ban comes into force on July 1 2021.

    • ‘Benefit’ 3: “After Brexit we can have free ports”

    Reality: There are more than 80 special economic zones, or free ports, across the EU, so they could have been done pre-Brexit. And in any case, they are of limited value, and can often be a haven for money laundering and tax evasion.

    • ‘Benefit’ 4: “There will be no non-tariff barriers after Brexit”

    Reality: From English fish merchants and Scottish seafood exporters to hauliers crossing the Dover Straits, British businesses are unable to trade as smoothly as before, with new barriers meaning some companies will be unable to export at all and others are being turned away at ports.

    • ‘Benefit’ 5: “Because of Brexit, freed from EU rules, we were able to approve vaccines quicker”

    Reality: The Pfizer-BioNTech and Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine approvals took place within the framework of EU rules, while the Moderna vaccine has already been approved by EU regulators - but because of Brexit, its availability in Britain will be delayed until April.

    This is a bad deal for Britain

    As the realities this week show, this bad deal for Britain leaves us in a worse position than we held as a member of the EU. It is the first ever trade deal to increase barriers to trade. It turns us into rule takers rather than rule makers. And we have lost our precious, life-changing rights to freedom of movement.

    If you want to find out more about what we have lost by leaving the EU, the EU has released this handy scorecard outlining the brutal reality of everything we have lost as a result of Brexit.

    If you are not already a member, please join, and help us build back our relationships with the EU and get back those rights we have lost:


    Please help us make our collective voice as loud as possible – share our Brexit Realities and ‘Brexit Bonus’ myth-busting blogpost with all your friends, family, and colleagues. Click below to share on:

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  • Brexit Deal is a Bad Deal for Britain

    European Movement leaders Heseltine, Dorrell & Adonis urge MPs and Peers not to endorse a bad deal


    Jointly commenting on the UK’s trade deal, European Movement Chair Stephen Dorrell and Vice Chair, Lord Adonis said: 

    “The Government has avoided no deal, but we should be under no illusions: this Brexit deal is a bad deal for Britain.

    “We call on all opposition voices, including any Conservatives who put country before party, to refuse to endorse the Government’s deal. The Government will get its deal through the Commons - there is no doubt about that - but no MP who believes Boris Johnson’s Brexit is bad for Britain should lend their name to it. 

    “This deal bears no resemblance to what was promised; it damages Britain's economy, jobs, security, trade in vital goods and the respect with which the UK is held and opponents of the deal should not allow themselves to be held responsible for its consequences. The only people who should vote for this deal are those who are willing to accept responsibility for its consequences.

    “Today marks a nadir in our relationship with our European neighbours. The job of building back what we’ve lost, brick by brick, needs to begin now and we at the European Movement stand ready to lead that fight. But our task will be made harder still if those who know a better deal is possible choose to endorse what is clearly a bad deal for Britain.”


    Commenting on the UK’s trade deal with the EU, European Movement President,   

    Lord Heseltine, said: 

    “We deplore the United Kingdom's decision to sever its connection with the European Union.  It will diminish our influence within our own continent, prejudice our reputation on the world stage and undermine our economic strengths as a gateway to one of the world's largest regional economies.  We remain committed to its vision and to the restoration of this country's participation in it.

    “The Government has an electoral mandate and I will not vote against consequential legislation if that might lead to the even worse consequence of a 'No Deal' rupture.  I make clear, however, that I and the European Movement will in no way share in the endorsement of legislation that will do lasting damage to our country's strategic, political and economic interests.”


    We hold this government, and this government alone, responsible for this terrible deal. Opposition MPs must refuse to endorse it and lay the blame squarely at the door of this government. 

    Will you write to your Opposition MP and ask them not to endorse this bad deal?


    If you have a Conservative MP, you can still use this tool to ask them about the impact of this deal in your local community. 

  • Our Chair Stephen Dorrell 

     “This deal is better than no deal, but it is a bad deal for Britain. The British people have never consented to this deal; it reflects Johnson’s choices.”


    Our President Lord Michael Heseltine 

    "We must welcome the news that Brexit does not end in the chaos of no deal, but only with the sense of relief of a condemned man informed that his execution has been commuted to a life sentence. 

    No deal was always the worst option. It would have added short term upheaval at docks and airports, shortages caused by severed supply lines and massive personal inconvenience to the long term disinvestment and job losses of Brexit itself. 

    But Brexit – this Brexit - has no upsides to justify the unsubstantiated claims.

    Brexit offers no platform from which to influence Europe’s future and no reason why investment designed for Europe should be invested here.

    The European Movement will campaign to hold the government to account for the losses we are about to experience.

    And we will fight, over the years ahead, to rebuild our relationship with the European Union, brick by brick.

    If you believe in a better relationship with Europe, please join us today.


    Thank you for all your support in 2020."

  • Stephen Dorrell, ex-cabinet minister says we are at risk of irreparable damage to the international reputation of our country


    Commenting on the EU Commission launching legal action against the UK over the Internal Market Bill, European Movement CEO, Anna Bird said: 

    All opposition party leaders, every living ex-Prime Minister, the government’s own legal advisers and now the EU have come out against the government's threat to renege on parts of the Withdrawal Agreement. This reckless and irresponsible move is an unnecessary distraction at a time when all efforts should be focused on getting a deal with our closest trading partners. 

    It is time for the government to face facts and admit that their strongarm negotiation tactics are not working.  As the deadline for negotiating a deal looms, we need to be constructive, not confrontational, with the EU if we are to avoid a catastrophic No Deal scenario. 


    European Movement Chair Stephen Dorrell, said: 

    The country that gave Magna Carta to the world is taken to court for breach of international law in the same week that the President of US refuses to guarantee he will respect the US election result.  

    If the government insists on this unprecedented disregard for the rule of law, it will irreparably damage the international reputation of our country. If we can’t be trusted at our word, we will scupper our hopes of securing a positive future relationship with the EU and trade deals with countries around the world negotiations will become increasingly difficult.

    The European Movement calls on the government to put an end to the gamesmanship and to focus seriously on getting a deal, before it’s too late. 


    European Movement Vice-Chair Andrew Adonis said:

    "The EU’s decision today to issue legal proceedings against the UK for its breach of international law signals the breakdown of Britain’s relations with Europe. Even if there is now a barebones deal of some kind to avoid no deal, trust has gone as long as Johnson and Cummings remain."

    "Remember Theresa May saying we were replacing membership of the EU with a ‘deep and special partnership’?  Well it just ended up in the divorce courts."


    Notes to press

    For further information contact Carys Barry on 07507994343 or [email protected] 

    Read More

  • We are delighted to announce that we have appointed Anna Bird as the next Chief Executive of the European Movement. Anna, a committed and passionate pro-European, is tasked with growing the movement and focusing the campaign effort to uphold the values, rights and access the UK currently shares with members of the European Union. The appointment comes at a critical time for the organisation, with a No Deal Brexit well and truly back on the cards. 

    With a career spent in campaigning organisations in the charity sector, Bird’s appointment will bring a fresh, civil society perspective to the European Movement.

    Anna joins the European Movement from Scope, where as an Executive Director she transformed the charity’s influence and reputation in Westminster and secured important wins for disabled people’s employment. She was previously a senior leader at the Fawcett Society, campaigning for women’s equality, and at Mind, the mental health charity.


    Anna Bird, newly appointed CEO of the European Movement UK said:

     “I’m delighted to be appointed to the role. The European Movement is built on the passion and commitment of thousands of activists up and down the country, its local groups and its impressive network of supporters both inside and beyond Westminster. As Chief Executive of the European Movement I want to build the strength of this community -   its size, its diversity and its influence - and to make sure our work truly connects with all those across the country who are or will be affected by Brexit. .”


    Stephen Dorrell, Chair of the European Movement UK said:

    “Anna Bird is joining the European Movement at a critical time for the organization and for our country. Despite repeated assurances by ministers that our relationship with other European countries would not be disrupted by Brexit, and that Britain could “have its cake and eat it”, it is becoming clearer by the day that minsters plan to put the livelihoods of millions of British people at further risk at the end of this year, just at the time when our economy will be struggling to recover from Coronavirus.

    The European Movement brings together people from all political parties and none, to express their opposition to this reckless and irresponsible policy and to campaign for full engagement with our neighbours in Europe who share our interests and our values. We are delighted that Anna will be joining us at such a critical time to develop our capacity to ensure those people are seen and heard”.

  • Over the weekend a document containing the government’s own predictions of the worst case of a No Deal Brexit coinciding with the second wave of coronavirus was leaked. Here are just some of the catastrophic consequences that the government predicts:

    • A “Systemic economic crisis” creating mass unemployment, price increases, and shortages. They predict that this will hit the poorest the hardest.
    • Blockages at the border threatening supplies of food and fuel, and could even lead to water rationing and power cuts.
    • Crucially during a second wave border queues could lead to medical shortages

    The document predicts such an extensive list of possible horrors that we couldn’t list all of them here.

    This leak comes just days after Michel Barnier announced that there is a high chance that the negotiations could end in a No Deal and as scientists warn of a second coronavirus wave. This report may outline the worst case, but as we hurtle towards a No Deal Brexit it cannot be denied that this is a very real possibility.

    At the European Movement, we will be working to ensure that this government does the right thing, and puts the national interest before senseless ideology. A No Deal Brexit is not a viable option, especially in the current circumstances, and it is time that Boris Johnson’s government takes this risk seriously.

    We have stopped a No Deal Brexit before, and this time we want to have an even bigger Movement behind us standing against the senseless self-harm of No Deal. Please join the movement, and be a part of stopping the threat of No Deal once and for all:


    When we speak with one voice, we can defend our European values.

  • We were told before the referendum that securing a free trade deal between the UK and the EU would be “one of the easiest in human history”. Nearly four years on, history has shown this was not the case. It took three and a half years just to agree the withdrawal framework agreement. Now, in the midst of a pandemic, we have just eight months left to get a trade agreement drawn up and agreed – with two rounds of talks having already been cancelled in March 2020.

    Read More

  • A no deal Brexit will happen if the UK fails to agree a trade deal with the EU prior to the end of the exit transition period. This is currently scheduled for 31st December 2020. The transition period can only be extended if the UK requests more time for negotiations before 30th June 2020. If we have no trade deal in place with the EU by the end of transition, on 1st January 2021 we will switch to operating on World Trade Organisation terms with the EU. This means the introduction of tariffs and non-tariff barriers, e.g. regulations for goods and services.

    Read More

  • Leading scientists have written an open letter to Boris Johnson outlining the detrimental impact that a short Brexit transition would have on scientific research. They call for the Government to “take whatever time is needed to negotiate a productive future relationship with the EU, including UK research and the ERA.”

    Read the full letter below.



    Dear Prime Minister,

    Impact on Science Research of Brexit Transition Termination

    The response to Covid-19 has shown how international collaboration has been essential for rapid progress in understanding the disease. No single nation has the expertise or innovative pipeline and power to characterize the virus, develop a vaccine for it and distribute that vaccine globally.

    The huge scientific problems facing globally inter-connected economies, ranging from climate change to artificial intelligence, require shared expertise and research power. There is a wonderful vehicle for galvanizing and funding such collaborative research and innovation, the European Research Area.

    The UK played a major role in the creation of the ERA and defining its ways of working and has led many of its most significant research efforts. But our involvement is now in jeopardy with the prospect of a No-Deal Brexit.

    We believe that the Government should take whatever time is needed to negotiate a productive future relationship with the EU, including UK research and the ERA. This can only benefit both parties and is manifestly in the long-term interest of the UK and all its citizens. Covid-19 has inflicted a severe setback to our economy and to future prospects of our youth.

    Recovery from such a setback will require a strong research and innovation base and a NoDeal Brexit would severely damage it. It would erode the attractiveness of our universities to talent from around the globe and the attractiveness of the UK as a location for leading science and technology businesses, at precisely a time when those goals are under threat due to the pandemic.

    We believe a No-Deal Brexit will cause unnecessary and possibly long-term damage because of an arbitrary timeline set before the pandemic.

    Yours faithfully,

    • Venki Ramakrishan, Nobel Prize for Chemistry 2000, President of the Royal Society
    • Sir Paul Nurse, Nobel Laureate, Physiology or Medicine 2001
    • Martin Rees FRS, Baron Rees of Ludlow
    • Niall FitzGerald KBE, Chairman – Leverhulme Trust
    • Professor Daniel Anthony, University of Oxford
    • Professor Dorothy Bishop, University of Oxford
    • Professor Edward Bullmore, University of Cambridge
    • Professor Roger Crisp, University of Oxford
    • Professor Annette Dolphin, University College London,
    • Professor Dame Athene Donald DBE FRS, University of Cambridge
    • Professor Barry Everitt FRS, University of Cambridge
    • Professor Anne Ferguson-Smith FRS, University of Cambridge
    • Professor Christine Holt FRS, University of Cambridge
    • Professor Charles Hulme FBA, University of Oxford
    • Professor Roger Lemon, University College London
    • Professor Stafford Lightman, University of Bristol
    • Dr Alice Prochaska, Former Principal and Honorary Fellow Somerville College, Oxford
    • Professor Wolfram Schultz, University of Cambridge
    • Professor Maggie Snowling CBE, University of Oxford
    • Professor David Spiegelhalter OBE FRS, University of Cambridge
    • Professor William Whyte, St John’s College, Oxford


    Want to get involved in our campaign to extend the transition?

    Chip into our campaign:


    Sign the petition:

    Sign the Petition


  • Climate change is one of the most important issues facing not only the UK but the planet. Our wildlife is close to extinction and our environment is under huge stress. 

    Even though EU environmental regulation is not perfect, and it has not solved our climate crisis yet, without EU regulation our environment could have been in an even worse position. 

    Before joining the EU, the UK was the “dirty man” of Europe and EU regulation helped us to clean up our act. For example, we pumped sewage into the sea in the 1970s. The EU regulators, and the threat of fines, ensured that we stopped putting untreated sewage into the sea. 

    The chance for a greener UK

    The Environment Bill is a unique opportunity to protect our environment and to ensure that we are serious about tackling climate change in the future. While DEFRA has called this bill the 'gold standard' of environmental standards, the Bill softens the enforcement power we had under EU regulations. This is likely to lead to backsliding rather than reaching new heights in environmental protection. The memory of the untreated sewage being pumped into the seas before joining the EU is enough to encourage us to clean up our act. 

    All bark and no bite 

    The bill outlines the creation of the independent watchdog of the Office for Environmental Protection (OEP), to replace the environmental oversight of the EU. However, both the independence and the enforcement power of this new body outlined in the bill are questionable. Yesterday, at the second reading of the Bill Eustice was questioned on the "teeth" of the OEP.

    Despite the bill defining the OEP as separate to the government, the personnel appointments and the budget of the OEP will be determined by the government. Independence of the OEP will be essential if his new body is to match the independent watchdog powers of the EU.

    Furthermore, the enforcement powers of the OEP will be reduced to a slap on the wrist if the OEP cannot issue fines and if they do not have enough legal force to ensure compliance with environmental law. When it came to sewage in our seas, it was the force of the regulator and threat of fines that ensured that we cleaned up our act. 

    For our planet 

    Leaving the EU must not be used as an opportunity to loosen environmental regulation. We need an environmental bill that grasps this opportunity to protect our planet and maintains or exceeds EU environmental standards.

  • "In exercising a judgement about Europe we have to decide what sort of people we are, what role we believe our country should play, what inheritance we should pass on."

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  • What is Operation Yellowhammer? You could be mistaken for thinking of the bird, but Operation Yellowhammer is the government's own assessment of the impact of a No Deal Brexit. Let us eggsplain... 

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  • Lord Michael Heseltine discusses how the time is right for political leadership on Brexit.

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