New Brighton Kemptown MP Lloyd Russell-Moyle asked his first question in the chamber of the House of Commons since his election on Thursday 8 June.
The Labour MP quizzed Theresa May as the Conservative Prime Minister reported to the Commons on her return from a meeting of her fellow European Union (EU) leaders at the European Council.
But Mr Russell-Moyle wasn’t impressed with the first answer that he received as an MP after seeking reassurances about the EU student exchange scheme known as Erasmus.
The popular Erasmus programme was started 30 years ago and a wider version of the scheme known as Erasmus+ started to offer even more opportunities for young people and academics in 2014.
Erasmus – the name of a Dutch humanist scholar who died nearly 500 years ago – is an acronym which stands for European Region Action Scheme for the Mobility of University Students.
In the Commons Mr Russell-Moyle said: “Hello, Prime Minister. At the Council, did the Prime Minister manage to raise the issue of the Erasmus+ programme and our continuing work in it?
“In particular, the deadline for the Erasmus+ grants is October. It takes six months for those grants to be awarded and another year sometimes for them to be enacted.
“Will she ensure that any academic, student or young person who is awarded an Erasmus programme is able to come here without additional visa burdens?”
Mrs May said: “While we are still within the European Union, the current arrangements and the opportunities to apply still apply to the United Kingdom.
“We have been able to give some certainty over certain programmes and their continuation after we leave the European Union but even after we have left there will be options for us to find ways in which we can contribute and participate in such programmes.”
The Commons Speaker John Bercow then said: “We all warmly welcome the honourable member for Brighton Kemptown to the chamber and to our deliberations.”
Later Mr Russell-Moyle said that the Prime Minister had failed to give sufficient reassurances about what would happen after Britain leaves the EU – the process known as Brexit.
He said that while Mrs May had acknowledged that the funds would remain open to UK youth, educational and sports programmes, she didn’t confirm that she had raised these issues.
Mr Russell-Moyle said after raising the issue last night (Monday 26 June): “This shows even more that the government has taken its eye off the ball.
“It can’t answer simple questions about its willingness to remain part of programmes. It can’t assure students, who contribute so heavily to the Brighton economy, will be safe – and they haven’t even raised the issues at the European Union Council meeting this week.”
Less than a year after his first speech as a councillor, Mr Russell-Moyle hopes to makes his maiden speech in the Commons today (Tuesday 27 June) as MPs discuss education and local service in the debate on the Queen’s speech.