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Sir Vince Cable helps launch High Peak fight to save Erasmus Programme

July 26, 2016 10:45 AM
By Charles Lawley

Sir Vince Cable, the former Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills and Liberal Democrat MP for Twickenham, helped the High Peak Liberal Democrats launch their petition to save the Erasmus Programme in Buxton on Saturday July 23. Erasmus campaign in Buxton

Sir Vince joined local campaigners to help protect the scheme which allows British students to take part in the programme, enabling them to study for up to a year at European universities. The programme, which the Liberal Democrats argues to be one of the most successful aspects of the European Union, is under threat for UK students since the vote to leave last month.

The Liberal Democrats plan to collect signatures nationally then take it to the European leaders in the hope that, during Brexit negotiations, the programme is protected and that UK students can still benefit from the programme, no matter in what way Britain leaves the European Union.

Hundreds of High Peak residents signed the petition being handed out by Liberal Democrat activists between 1100 and 1400 on Saturday in Spring Gardens and many were so supportive they even became Liberal Democrat members.

Sir Vince said in Buxton "Not only do students, up and down the UK, benefit from the ability to study abroad, but here in the High Peak we have the University of Derby and are in easy access of universities in Manchester and Sheffield that rely on European students studying here. These universities rely heavily on EU collaboration and funding and there is a real worry that Brexit will result in a serious deterioration in their ability to offer a world class education. So we, Liberal Democrats, are doing our bit for UK students and UK universities."

Charles Lawley, a 28-year-old Chapel en le Frith resident and the High Peak Liberal Democrat's European spokesperson organised the day of action in Buxton and commented:

"The Erasmus programme has been running for 30 years now and has helped over 3 million British students to study and work abroad; broadening their horizons and diversifying their knowledge, experience and abilities. Once they graduate and enter the workforce full time, they are much better skilled and our economy benefits greatly from this. No one wins from us losing Erasmus. Not even the most ardent-Eurosceptic can argue that the UK being excluded from the Erasmus programme is a good thing. Our students lose out, our universities lose out and we as a nation are all the poorer for it."

"We were out in Buxton, during the Buxton Festival, when the weather was glorious and there where an unmissable taste of culture filling the air and the response was overwhelmingly positive. Remain voters and leave voters, locals and visitors, everyone wanted to back the Lib Dems in saving Erasmus. We'll be taking the fight to all areas of the High Peak over the next few weeks as we don't believe that anyone wants to jeopardise the future of the people who are this country's future."

"To say it is an honour to have Sir Vince Cable launch our campaign is an understatement. Throughout the referendum campaign, one of the criticisms levelled at economists advising to vote remain was that they weren't credible as they didn't forecast the 2008 global financial crisis. However, Sir Vince Cable did predict it. He's a political and economic powerhouse, a true gentleman and champion of UK students and universities."

People can still sign the petition online http://change.libdems.org.uk/save_erasmus_programme or by getting in touch with Charles Lawley 07535 415 060

Sir Vince Cable also spoke at the Buxton Festival at the Opera House on Saturday about his new book, After The Storm, which focuses on the British economy and its future following on from the financial crisis.

Erasmus campaign in Buxton

Erasmus campaign in Buxton