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Sussex hears from Hilary Benn on Brexit

Sussex welcomed the Rt Hon Hilary Benn MP back onto campus on 7 February, to hear his views on Brexit and what could happen next, during an event hosted by the Sussex Politics Society.

As Parliament continues to debate the UK’s future relationship with the EU, the Politics Society invited Hilary to share his insights on the current political situation and to answer questions from students and staff in the Jubilee Lecture Theatre.

The event was featured in a special report on the main evening BBC South East bulletin, with an exclusive interview with the Leeds Central MP and discussions with six Sussex students on their hopes for the next steps in the Brexit progress.

During the event, Hilary talked about his role as Chair of Parliament’s Exiting the European Union Select Committee and the work he and fellow parliamentarians have been doing to monitor the progress of the Brexit negotiations and to try and find a way forward on one of the most complex issues the country has faced.

Prof Alan Winters and Dr Peter Holmes from the UK Trade Policy Observatory (UKTPO), which is based at Sussex, were sitting in the audience and were thanked by Hilary for sharing their expertise with Parliament on Brexit’s potential impact on UK trade. He expressed his gratitude to them for giving evidence to his committee about this.

Asked whether Brexit could have an impact on efforts to combat climate change, Hilary was able to share his experience of working with other countries to protect the future of the planet, having led global environmental discussions during his time as a former Environment Secretary. He stressed his belief in the importance of nations continuing to work together to safeguard the environment for current and future generations.

Hilary, who also served as Secretary of State for International Development during his time in government, ended the event by sharing some of his own memories of being a student at Sussex in the 1970s and wishing our current students well in their studies.

Peter Gallizi, President of the Politics Society, said: "It was brilliant to hear from Hilary Benn, as a national political figure who is working on key issues that affect our country. He spoke eloquently on Brexit and responded to audience questions with genuine thought and interest.

"Feedback from students and staff has been positive and the Politics Society looks forward to hosting similar events in the future."

The University and the Students' Union are always keen to invite representatives from across the political parties to speak on campus and seek to organise events throughout the year where students and staff can hear different views. 

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By: Sarah Whitehead
Last updated: Friday, 8 February 2019