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Therese Raphael

Brexit’s Unavoidable Gravity Squeezes UK Scientists

Britain hoped to maintain access to Europe’s flagship science programs. That now looks unlikely.

England / UK: Title page of Sir Isaac Newton's Philosophi¾ Naturalis Principia Mathematica or 'Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy', 3rd edition, London, 1726
Photographer: Pictures from History/Universal Images Group Editorial

One of the most contentious parts of the torturous post-Brexit trade negotiations between the UK and Europe was the dispute-resolution process. Now it’s being tested. The UK triggered the measure last week, complaining that the European Union has blocked its access to billions of science funding in retaliation for Britain’s plan to rip up parts of the trade arrangement for Northern Ireland. Tit, meet tat. 

The timing should tell you everything. The frontrunner to replace Boris Johnson, Liz Truss, is also in charge of Brexit matters. A quarrel with Brussels is a tried and tested way of appealing to Tory voters.