Rishi Sunak and von der Leyen discuss Horizon Europe
Former Conservative leader Sir Iain Duncan Smith has called for the UK to abandon the “ridiculous idea” of rejoining the European Union’s £82billion Horizon Europe science cooperation programme in favour of setting up a UK hub in the sector. A view shared by 89 percent of Express.co.uk readers, a new poll has found.
The Brexiteer told Express.co.uk: “This is just another example of the EU always playing hardball. We have given them everything and they have given nothing in return.”
He explained: “We have a much better scientific research base than the EU and scientists and investors want to come to the UK.
“If we go it alone we could be a scientific superpower on our own without the EU.”
The UK left Horizon Europe after leaving the EU but was in negotiations to rejoin after European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen agreed to work on the arrangement with Prime Minister Rishi Sunak as part of the Windsor Framework earlier this year.
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In a poll which ran from 11.30am on Wednesday, June 28, to 5pm on Thursday, June 29, Express.co.uk asked readers: “Should the UK walk away from EU’s Horizon programme and set up its own science hub?”
A total of 1,714 responses were received with the vast majority of readers, 89 percent (1,532 people) answering “yes” the UK should set up its own science hub. Whereas, 10 percent (170 people) said “no” the UK should continue negotiations with Horizon Europe and just one percent (12 people) said they did not know.
Dozens of comments were left below the accompanying article as readers shared their thoughts on the UK’s future with the Horizon programme.
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Many readers agreed with Sir Iain that the UK should set up its own science hub, with username 3downnotout writing: “Indeed, UK is free of the EU now, time to go it alone completely.”
Username lellypoos thought that the UK should stay away from Horizon Europe, commenting: “We should have nothing to do with the EU.”
Likewise, username bogrollcomic added: “We should have nothing to do with the EU Horizon project.”
The UK’s exclusion from Horizon Europe means that British scientists and researchers are no long eligible to receive funding support.
Some readers thought that the UK science sector needs the support of the EU, , with username SaraMay writing: “Science progresses faster when information is pooled, walking away would be counter-productive.”
Another, username nobbyn said: “Britain was once a leading science and technology power. But that was in the 1950s/1960s and the UK’s influence diminished as it found it could no longer afford to be at the front of the pack.
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