The Higher Education and Research Bill passed its Second Reading in the House of Commons, 19th July, by 294 votes to 258. The vote was preceded by five and a half hours of debate. Concerns about Brexit infused many of the speeches from Opposition members, with a number arguing that the uncertainty caused by Brexit should lead to the Bill being and revised. GuildHE has rejected this argument (most recently in Gordon McKenzie’s blog for WonkHE).
There were some interesting contributions on themes like protections and rights for students; the risks of the apparent divorcing of teaching and research implied by the creation of the Office for Students and UK Research and Innovation; the TEF: social mobility and part-time HE. GuildHE provided a briefing for MPs (which can be downloaded here) and our views on the Bill were quoted by both the Opposition spokesperson, Gordon Marsden and (twice) by the Minister, Jo Johnson.
The next step in the Parliamentary process is Committee stage which will begin when the House returns after the Summer recess. On 6 September, Joy Carter, GuildHE Chair, and Gordon McKenzie, GuildHE CEO, have been asked to give evidence to the Bill Committee as part of their preparation for the detailed scrutiny at Committee stage.