At the inaugural hearing of the Science and Technology Committee Cambridge’s MP Daniel Zeichner grilled Universities and Science Minister Jo Johnson MP on the impact of the government’s immigration policies and possible withdrawal from the EU on science and universities.

The Cambridge MP asked the minister what evidence there was that immigration controls impacted on universities’ ability to attract and retain the best scientific talent.

Daniel Zeichner MP said: “Astonishingly, the minister said he didn’t see any evidence that universities are ‘bumping up against constraints.’ I urge him to talk to some Cambridge academics. Indeed Sir Leszek Borysiewicz, Vice Chancellor of Cambridge University, recently called the UK government’s immigration restrictions ‘one of the biggest threats’ to the UK’s higher education system, especially research-intensive universities like Cambridge.”

Daniel Zeichner MP also quizzed the minster on whether any assessment had been made on the possible impact on UK science if Britain were to leave the EU. He said: “Despite asking him three times I couldn’t get a straight answer – I suspect that is because no such assessment has been made.”

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