Universities ordered to end ‘partisan prejudice’ against Brexit

Amendment to HE Bill to require hosting of pro-Leave speakers and cultural events on campus

April 1, 2017
Sinking EU ship

UK universities may soon be legally required to ensure more pro-Brexit voices are heard on campus under new rules to combat “unpatriotic” and “insufficiently optimistic” discussion of the country's split from the European Union.

With most academics still firmly against the UK’s departure from the EU, there is concern among many ministers that students are getting an “unnecessarily downbeat” and “one-sided” assessment of what Brexit will mean for higher education and their futures. 

Under a late amendment to the Higher Education and Research Bill, universities will be required to end “partisan prejudice” against Brexit and to encourage “national unity” by ensuring all classroom discussions on the subject reflect the “exciting and unrivalled opportunities” on offer from the UK’s departure from the EU.

“Undergrads are hearing all about potential loss of access to Erasmus+ and the European Research Council, or leaving the single market, but do their lecturers ever explain the exciting free trade opportunities we could have with the titans of world enterprise, like New Zealand?” asked one pro-Brexit minister.

The amendment also specifies that a “mandatory number” of pro-Brexit voices should be invited to appear on campus. Selected for their potential youth appeal, former Breitbart editor Milo Yiannopoulos, former cricketer Sir Ian Botham and Tory backbencher Sir Bill Cash are among those listed as “recommended pro-Brexit advocates”.

Universities must also fulfil a new legal obligation to host a set number of cultural events, such as dance performances, art exhibitions or pop concerts, to help explain the “multiple and far-reaching benefits” of Brexit to students.

“Ministers have been disappointed by some of the lacklustre communications from universities since we triggered Article 50 – it’s normally some unsmiling middle-aged vice-chancellor looking very uncomfortable trying to reassure students and staff they won’t be deported,” said one Westminster source.

“Universities need to do better. Why not host a pop concert on campus with some Brexit-themed songs that the kids can really relate to, such as Ed Sheeran’s Shape of EU (Undemocratic Supranational Federalist Remix), anything by hugely popular rapper Lady Sovereignty, or Sinéad O’Connor’s Nothing Compares to EU (Actually Not True as a Truly Global Britain Can Strike its Own Trade Deals)?”

You've reached your article limit.

Register to continue

Registration is free and only takes a moment. Once registered you can read a total of 3 articles each month, plus:

  • Sign up for the editor's highlights
  • Receive World University Rankings news first
  • Get job alerts, shortlist jobs and save job searches
  • Participate in reader discussions and post comments


This story is an 'April fool'.

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments

Featured Jobs

Most Commented

Worried man wiping forehead
Two academics explain how to beat some of the typical anxieties associated with a doctoral degree
A group of flamingos and a Marabou stork

A right-wing philosopher in Texas tells John Gill how a minority of students can shut down debates and intimidate lecturers – and why he backs Trump

A face made of numbers looks over a university campus

From personalising tuition to performance management, the use of data is increasingly driving how institutions operate

students use laptops

Researchers say students who use computers score half a grade lower than those who write notes

As the country succeeds in attracting even more students from overseas, a mixture of demographics, ‘soft power’ concerns and local politics help explain its policy