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EU: Science and Technology

Volume 621: debated on Tuesday 21 February 2017

5. What discussions he has had with his EU counterparts on joint areas of working on science and technology. (908807)

The Prime Minister made clear on 17 January the high priority this Government place on their science relationship with Europe. The Minister for Universities, Science, Research and Innovation, my hon. Friend the Member for Orpington (Joseph Johnson), is in regular contact on this issue with his European counterparts, including the European commissioner.

Will my right hon. Friend confirm that there are no barriers to the UK joining future collaborative ventures, and that the UK intends to pursue those collaborative ventures with high-tech beacons around the world, including Hong Kong and Israel?

The Government aim to secure the best possible outcome for UK science and research as we leave the European Union. The EU and the UK have publicly emphasised the importance of continuing to work together to produce high-quality research, so both at home and abroad we will remain at the forefront of science and research.

In paragraph 10.14 of their White Paper, the Government tell us that they

“would welcome agreement…with our European partners”

on science and technology issues, but they give no indication of how that agreement will be achieved—no timetable, no detail and absolutely no guarantees. Will the Minister tell us what discussions have taken place, rather than simply telling us that the Government have had discussions?

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy leads on science, but this will be an essential part of the negotiations we conduct with the European Union after we have triggered article 50.

17. May I ask the Minister to ensure that scientific co-operation in Europe is extended to the preservation of threatened species? (908820)

I do not see why not, especially as my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary is living proof that the woolly mammoth can return from extinction.