Two-thirds of students want a second EU referendum

Tom Peck
Second referendum campaigners argue that triggering Article 50 does not mean the UK couldn't eventually opt to remain in the EU: Rex

Two thirds of students think there should be a second referendum on the terms of the Brexit deal, according to research by the National Union of Students (NUS).

The Liberal Democrats are campaigning for the terms of the UK’s departure from the European Union to be put to the people in the form of a second referendum, probably in two years time. The NUS asked 2,685 UK students, aged between 16 and 24, and 63 per cent of them agreed there should be a second referendum.

Young people voted by a large margin to remain in the European Union, but turn out was dwarfed by older people, whose “out” votes were decisive in last summer’s poll.

The NUS has also set out four priorities for students in the Government’s negotiations with the European Union, which began this week with the triggering of Article 50.

It has called for urgent action to ensure international students continue to be welcome in the UK, including removing them from official net migration figures, something the Government has consistently refused to do. It has also urged the Government to provide clarity of status for EU nationals in the UK, with particular regard to the large numbers of European academics working in British universities.

It has asked the Government to guarantee UK participation in existing EU student programmes like Erasmus, and to ensure existing EU research programmes of which the UK are currently a part are replaced with UK-EU collaboration.

Malia Bouattia, NUS President, said: “NUS is committed to ensuring that students do not suffer as a result of the referendum result. NUS is unequivocal in our support of students’, and others’, right to remain. I have made this crystal clear in our written evidence to the Education Select Committee on the Impact of Exiting the European Union on Higher Education.

“We are fighting to shape the terms on which Brexit takes place. This comes with a certain difficulty, because of the lack of clarity coming from Westminster, but it is our collective task as a movement to fight for better education, to fight for students, for migrants, and for all those who are faced with adverse circumstances. The way we rise to these challenges will shape the future of our sector and our society for years to come.”

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