MPs have been accused of limiting the future of young people after they voted against a popular study abroad scheme.
The future of the Erasmus programme was left in doubt this week after politicians voted against New Clause 10 being read a second time by 344 votes to 254.
The clause would have required the government to seek to negotiate continuing full membership of the EU’s Erasumus+ education and youth programme.
“Erasmus made me who I am”
At least 53 per cent of UK university students who learn abroad do so through the Erasmus scheme, which typically sees students spend a semester abroad at a university in the EU, while students from EU universities study at a UK university in return.
“Choosing to limit the future of young people; choosing to rob them of opportunities is one of the worst outcomes of Brexit,” tweeted Professor Tanja Bueltmann, who teaches migration and diaspora history at Northumbria university.
“It is tragic and incomprehensible that anyone would support doing this to young people.
“Erasmus made me who I am. It allowed me, a working class student with no other means to enable a year abroad, to study at the [University] of Edinburgh.”
Tory Brexiteer Suella Braverman was also criticised for voting against the scheme – even though she previously participated in it as a student.
It allowed her to spend one of her university years studying in the EU – enabling her to participate in her Masters degree of European and French law at Pantheon-Sorbonne University.
In 2016-17, more than 16,500 UK students participated in overseas programmes, while more than 31,700 EU nationals came to the UK.
The terms of the UK’s exit from the EU have still not been decided, so the future of the Erasmus scheme is not certain, but the latest vote suggests MPs are against negotiating full membership with the scheme.