Scientists joined hundreds of thousands of people to demand that the British public be allowed to vote on the terms for Brexit.
Organized by the campaign group Scientists for EU, thousands of British Scientists marched along with hundreds of thousands of other protestors to demand a say in the terms under which the United Kingdom exits the European Union (Brexit). The protests took place on March 23rd and were coordinated by campaign organizations such as Open Britain, a pro-Europe group that opposes aspects of the Brexit deal put forward by UK Prime Minister Theresa May.
Some of the scientists wanted a re-vote on the whole idea of Brexit, including the option of the UK staying within the EU. They indicated that the looming deadline and uncertainty around Brexit are significantly impacting recruitment and the ability to participate in Europe-wide collaborations, as well as raising major concerns about supply chain security. Most scientists believe Brexit will, and may already be having, a large negative impact on research in the UK in terms of collaboration, immigration and funding.
May’s deal includes a 20-month transition period in which the current EU–UK relationship would remain basically the same as it is now while terms for the future relationship would be negotiated. If this deal or some other alternative is not approved by the UK Parliament, the country will exit the EU without any established trade or migration agreements and instantly cut UK scientists off from all EU research funding.