HL Deb 16 December 2003 vol 655 cc1080-91

4.30 p.m.

Baroness Miller of Hendon

rose to move, That an humble Address be presented to Her Majesty praying that the order, laid before the House on 31 st October, be annulled (S.I. 2003/2764).

The noble Baroness said: My Lords, my reasons for taking the unusual step of praying against this order were constitutional objections to it and serious reservations by the academic and scientific communities. Although there has been some consultation with the representatives of Universities UK, the Royal Society and the Foundation for Information and Policy Research, culminating in a meeting with officials at the DTI and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office on 25th November, the outcome of that meeting was not completely satisfactory. The academic representatives sought clarification on certain points, assurances and, more particularly, guidance on how the new rules should be interpreted and applied. However, the officials could give no absolute commitment without reference to the Minister.

I am informed that, as late as last Friday afternoon, the Minister did not wish to indicate to me in writing how he would deal with those points raised with his officials. I thought that the Minister might like to know that, as a result, I spent the whole weekend in consultation with my advisers and in discussions with the academic community and their advisers and Members of different sides of your Lordships' House, to say nothing of writing a 2,500-word speech in support of my Prayer. All that could have been avoided had the Minister found it possible to be a little more forthcoming earlier.

As it is, I received a message from the Minister's office yesterday at 3.15 p.m. that he wished to speak to me. He kindly faxed to me a draft of his speech at 6.11 p.m. yesterday whereupon another round of consultation and late-night speech-writing had to take place. However, I am most grateful to the Minister for letting me know in advance, however belatedly, his explanation of the order and the extent to which he believes that he is already meeting, and will meet in future, the serious concerns of academia. I owe it to noble Lords to explain what those concerns are because to some extent they have not been entirely met, and because of my own constitutional point, which I shall leave until the end.

In view of the explanations and assurances that the Minister tells me he is about to give noble Lords, I can be briefer than I would otherwise have been. In summary, academia's reservations are: first, that the new end-use controls that the order introduces are ambiguously drafted and, as a result, unreasonable in their extent; and, secondly, that the controls on dual-use technology in intangible form, which has been in use since 2000, and which the order re-states and re-enacts, are at serious risk of proving unworkable. Identical ambiguities are found in Regulations 8,9 and 10, but for simplicity's sake and to save time I shall refer only to Regulation 8.

Regulation 8 imposes a prohibition on the transfer of technology if each of two conditions is satisfied. The first is that the transferor is aware that the technology is intended for weapons of mass destruction programmes. What is not clear is who must hold that intention. Obviously, the condition is fulfilled if the transferor or the transferee holds the intention. But what if the intention is held only by third parties? Sadly, many governments seek to establish such weapons systems. Who is to delve into the motivation of such a foreign government who sponsors a student to study particular subjects in the United Kingdom, including, say, biology or chemistry? The regulation should require that the intention is that of the transferee of the technology or of some other person to whom the transferor is aware that the technology is likely to be transferred. When I refer to the transferor being "aware", I mean positively aware, not that he ought to be aware.

The second condition to make the prohibition effective is that the transferor has reason to believe that the technology may be used outside the United Kingdom. It is hard to think of a single case where the transferor could be sure that it was impossible for the technology to be used outside the EU. On the contrary, with the Prime Minister boasting as he did recently that Britain was becoming the destination of choice for international postgraduate students, it is inevitable that dual-use technology will be exported.

In my submission, prohibitions that apply unsatisfactory and ambiguous conditions and obligations, as contained in the proposed order, are unreasonable. As such, they will or may face rejection by the courts as ultra vires the powers of the Act. In the mean time, the academic community fears that the vagueness and ambiguity of the controls would have major adverse effects on them. First, they fear that the controls would severely inhibit the normal exchange of information between academics working in the same field. Next, they were worried that they would impose intolerable obligations on universities on accepting foreign students. Last but by no means least, they believe that they will inflict on academics and their publishers injurious uncertainty about the risks of prosecution or the need for a licence.

Having just discussed the new end-use controls, I shall now deal with the consolidation of the existing dual-use controls that have been in operation since 2000. The new consolidating regulation gives us the opportunity to revisit the actual contents of the previous order in the light of more than three years' experience of their operation. The existing regulations extend control from the export of goods and equipment to transfers of technology in intangible form. That has an immense prospective effect on many fields of scientific research involving international collaboration. The extensive scope of the controls is ameliorated by many open licences, but those licences are available only to those who comply with their general conditions. Those conditions require notification to the DTI and the keeping of extensive and detailed records of transfers of technology, however ephemeral the form of the transfer and however trivial the content. I believe that very few academics have made such notifications.

There is very widespread ignorance in the academic community of the stringent requirements of the available licensing schemes and the need to obtain their benefit. Unless the volume of international electronic mail passing through academic parts of the Internet and via text messaging has diminished since 2000—that is highly improbable—it seems likely that there is widespread contravention of the controls imposed in 2000.

The impact of export controls on the academic world is vastly different from that on the worlds of commerce and industry, which transfer technology and goods for money. Every item sold leaves a paper trail open to inspection and investigation in the form of invoice. By contrast, the academic world is dedicated to enlarging the stock of information, including technology available to everyone. The only trail of it is to be found in published papers and books or on the hard drives of computers. If, as I assume they do, the Government wish to see compliance with necessary controls—by necessary, I mean those that do not impose a shotgun approach—the DTI must devote substantial intellectual resources to developing constructive guidance, which must be tailored to the practical needs of the academic world. That is essential.

I have just mentioned the bureaucratic requirements of record-keeping. A particular problem affects information security projects, including, for example, the protection of bank customers' PIN numbers or prevention of computer fraud, hacking and spamming. Those are covered by the dual-use controls, and such projects come within the licensing regime, because they come under an EU instrument called the Community General Export Authorisation (CGEA). The problem is that, to take advantage of that licence, academics must comply with record-keeping obligations to be imposed by the order that are both onerous and impractical. They are set out in Part II of Schedule 4 of the order. I believe that the Government will claim that that mirrors what is set out in the CGEA itself.

In a modern information security project, very large numbers of exchanges of technology may take place by e-mail. That often consists of computer software that may never form part of the final product but is required for testing or design purposes. If a record under the CGEA must be entered for each e-mail and reply, the burden of record creation would make most projects unfeasible. In fact, article 6 of the EU dual-use regulation licenses most dual-use items, including information security, although it does not do so if it includes what are called cryptanalytic functions.

The conditions of the EC regulation do not contain anything resembling the burdensome ones set out in Part II of Schedule 4 to this order. This is despite the fact that the EC order specifically says that it is up to individual states to decide what registration and reporting requirements to apply. In other words—and not for the first time—the Government are guilty of gold-plating EC regulations. In this case, the Government are not under the constraints that I understand the Minister may claim they are.

I seek from the Minister a cast-iron assurance that ways will be found—either through detailed guidance on record-keeping requirements, or through the grant of open licences, or through the grant of individual licences containing more practical and less onerous conditions, or a combination of all three—to ensure that information security projects are not burdened in this most unreasonable way.

Before I make my concluding remarks I should like to add something else to my wish list at the request of Universities UK. The existing controls have been in force for three years. These should be reviewed in 12 months from now, when they will have been in place for four years and the new ones, if the order is passed, for one year. I understand that the Minister will confirm a review of the legislation after the controls have been in force for three years. I ask him to confirm that when that review takes place it will actively seek and take into account the views of the academic community.

Furthermore, as the delegation explained to the officials, there is a need for clear and adequate guidance, preferably tailored for academics, explaining what the regulations require within the boundaries of Section 8 of the Export Control Act. The representatives of Universities UK and the Royal Society have offered total co-operation with the Government in helping to draft the necessary guidance as well as in disseminating it to the academic community in exchange for clear statements from the Minister about the possible interpretation of Articles 8 and 9 of the order, which deal with the electronic and non-electronic transfer of information and general licences for certain academics in place of the Community general export authorisation. I hope to hear from the Minister that he will accept that offer.

Finally, I come to my third reason for objecting to the order, to which I shall refer in the fewest words possible. The simple fact is that because of the unnecessarily wide scope and impractical requirements of the order it is, according to the advice I have received, ultra vires the Secretary of State's powers as it contravenes the clear wording of Section 8 of the Export Control Act 2002—I ask the Minister to note this—which states: The Secretary of State may not make a control order which has the effect of prohibiting or regulating … the communication of information in the ordinary course of scientific research". This provision is intended to deal with dual-use information used, for example, during legitimate academic presentation or research, but which has a potential strategic use. It may be that the clarification the Minister will give your Lordships, and the guidance that he may give on the operation of the order, will avoid any law suit in the future that may wish to test this point. For the moment, therefore, I beg to move.

Moved, That an humble Address be presented to Her Majesty praying that the order laid before the House on 31st October be annulled (S.I. 2003/2764).— (Baroness Miller of Hendon.)

4.45 p.m.

Baroness Sharp of Guildford

My Lords, we on these Benches share many of the reservations spelt out by the noble Baroness, Lady Miller, about the order as it stands. Some of these reservations are shared by Universities UK and the Royal Society.

We feel that there is considerable ambiguity in the wording of Articles 8, 9 and 10. In particular we have concerns about the dual-use controls in Article 13 and the detail set out in Part II of Schedule 4. I did not spend the weekend trying to write a speech but I did spend it trying to read the order. I have to confess that I am not very much wiser as a result. The detail is considerable.

We are worried about the degree to which it is implied that the detail necessary under Part II of Schedule 4 arises as a result of the Community general export authorisation. I am given to understand that that authorisation does not require the detailed record keeping imposed under Schedule 4. We understand that it is for individual countries to specify precisely what they require under the authorisation. In this case, it is our own authorities which require the level of detail specified. Once again we are gold-plating European regulations to the detriment of our own people. The order imposes unnecessary burdens on them which they should not have to bear.

That said, thanks to the noble Baroness, Lady Miller, I have had the benefit of seeing a draft of the Minister's speech. I believe that I am right in saying that many of our reservations will be allayed as a result of his speech. I look forward to hearing it.

Lord May of Oxford

My Lords, I share many of the reservations that have been expressed. In my case, I have a vivid personal acquaintance with the problems created by legislation such as this if it is not carefully drafted. In my 11 years of experience at Princeton University as Vice-President for Research in the late 1970s and early 1980s, one dealt with several court cases that arose from forbidding mathematicians to present work. There was, in general, a history in the United States—until the whole matter was cleaned up about 15 years ago—of misapplication of such regulations in ways which inhibited research. Cases were always resolved happily, but only after much fuss and bother.

As your Lordships will recall, the original Export Control Bill was amended in this House and sent back to the other place, where the amendments were swept away. It then came back here for a happy resolution, led by the noble Lord, Lord Sainsbury, which satisfied my fact-based—although from another country— worries.

We were reassured in the earlier discussions that, even if the amendments had not stood, the orders would clear up any ambiguities. Unhappily, far from doing so, they have recreated some of the original obfuscations, although not with intent. Through the generosity of the noble Lord, Lord Sainsbury, in sharing with me his preliminary thoughts, I am under the impression that he will lay all my worries to rest.

I have two minor points that I would like put even more formally to rest. The noble Baroness, Lady Miller, also referred to them. First, I trust that we shall hear that the Government are committed to consulting with representatives of the academic community to provide further and clearer guidance, where appropriate, specifically tailored to the academic context. Why do I say that? The helpful notes and guidance prepared by my erstwhile colleagues in the DTI from my brief sojourn as Chief Scientific Adviser, well-intentioned though they are, clearly reflect the fact that most of the dialogue in the context of export control—it is an evocation of Scott and so on—is not between academics and officials in the Department of Trade and Industry but between rather different people. In short, there is what might generously be called a certain degree of mutual incomprehension between the academic culture and that of the people who drafted this document. The thought that it could come happily together is not reassured by the fact that the Royal Society and Universities UK's efforts to get together with officials before the order came to the House was, despite much polite exchange of promises, not effective. I am left with the harsh view that the guarantee of such dialogue must rest on ministerial assurance that officials will be told what to do. That is a crude thing to say, but it is best said openly.

Finally, I also hope — and this fleshes out something said by the noble Baroness, Lady Miller, and what the noble Baroness, Lady Warwick, may be about to say—that there will be an undertaking that there will be a formal review of how the bits that relate to the academic world are going 12 months from the order coming into being, rather than three years.

Baroness Warwick of Undercliffe

My Lords, I am grateful for the opportunity to debate the regulations currently before the House, and pay tribute to the efforts of the noble Baroness, Lady Miller of Hendon, in pursuing the issues that she raised this afternoon. I also declare an interest as chief executive of Universities UK.

I broadly welcome the regulations and I wholeheartedly welcome the spirit of co-operation with which officials in the Export Control Organisation of the DTI have approached the concerns raised by academics and by the Royal Society and ourselves. Indeed, it is only a shame that we did not manage, as the noble Lord, Lord May, said, to get a meeting with them. In calling for clear, adequate and tailored guidance, I hope that the same spirit of co-operation can be maintained and built on to ensure that the regulations now before us are capable of being clearly understood by those in the academic community.

As noble Lords have already made clear, however, there are a few areas of outstanding concern that I hope the Minister will be able to clear up. My own reaction in reading the regulations and the accompanying draft guidance was similar to that of the noble Baroness, Lady Sharp—that they were hopelessly opaque and difficult to understand. The draft guidance in particular failed to clarify the obligations that the new controls will place upon academics and others, or to make clear the difference between existing controls and new ones. If we are not to produce a situation in which academics simply scratch their heads and give up on international collaboration in certain fields, it is incumbent upon the Government to make efforts to explain the scope of the existing and new legislation. I therefore join others in calling for clear, transparent and tailored guidelines for the academic community that make absolutely clear what they must do and how they must do it.

I also believe that the Government should keep the regulations now before us under review, as others have said. I believe that the impact of the regulations should initially be reviewed 12 months after their implementation, with full and active consultation with the academic community. I hope that the Minister will be able to offer a full clarification on those points.

I conclude with one final point, which relates to the requirements imposed by Schedule 4 Part II of the regulations. There has been some discussion of this already, but I would like to reiterate the concerns expressed by the noble Baroness, Lady Miller of Hendon, about the record keeping and reporting requirements imposed by Schedule 4 Part II, which are utterly unrealistic for collaborating academics. The easiest solution to this problem would be for the Minister to provide some reassurance that the Export Control Organisation will look favourably on applications by information security academics for individual licences. I understand that the normal practice is to discourage applications for individual licences when existing licences are applicable. My view is that the reporting and record-keeping requirements of Schedule 4 Part II make the Community general export authorisation inappropriate for collaborating academics. I look forward to the Minister's reply.

5 p.m.

Lord Sainsbury of Turville

My Lords, I apologise to the noble Baroness, Lady Miller, for wasting her weekend. The thought of negotiating my speech line by line and word by word with her led to a moment of weakness on Friday evening that should not have taken place. I apologise to her for that.

As Minister with responsibility for science and innovation, I believe that the UK must have strong international relationships if it is to remain at the leading edge of world science. I am proud of the fact that we carry out 4.5 per cent of all the world's science, bur. that means that 95 per cent is done elsewhere. If we are to stay at the leading edge, we need strong relationships with the science being done elsewhere in the world. However, I believe that there is nothing in the Export of Goods, Transfer of Technology and Provision of Technical Assistance (Control) Order 2003 that in any way prevents that happening. I want to reply in detail to the specific points raised by the noble Baroness, Lady Miller. First, however, I should put things in a wider context.

The order is one of two made under the Export Control Act 2002, which will come into force, together with a third order now in preparation, on 1st May next year. The order consolidates the extensive export controls that already apply under current legislation to the export of controlled military and dual-use goods and technology, and also to non-controlled goods that are to be used in connection with a programme of weapons of mass destruction. However, there are certain gaps in the present controls that this order will remedy. First, it will impose a control on the export of military technology by electronic means, to complement the existing controls on the export of dual-use technology by electronic means. Secondly—and this is the point which I believe to be of concern to the noble Baroness—it will impose controls on the transfer by any means within the UK of non-controlled technology and software intended for use in a weapons of mass destruction programme outside the EU. It will also impose controls on the provision of technical assistance to WMD programmes. The second order, with which I do not intend to deal today, introduces new controls on the trafficking and brokering of military goods between countries outside the UK.

At present, it is possible for those engaged in the production of WMD to obtain relevant technology and software or technical assistance within the UK or from a UK person outside the UK without the need for the transferor to obtain approval from Her Majesty's Government under export control legislation. Clearly, this is an area in which we must have adequate regulations. The new controls on the transfer of technology relevant to weapons of mass destruction do not represent a radical change in direction; they build on the existing dual-use regulations that have been in force since 2000. The new controls on technical assistance implement an EU joint action.

Equally, I accept that the controls must be proportionate, practicable and well understood by those subject to them. We have therefore engaged in extensive consultation before they were finalised. That started with a White Paper and we also published draft secondary legislation when the Bill was introduced into Parliament. We then had a final round of consultation of the draft orders starting in January this year.

Copies of that consultation document on the secondary legislation were sent to, among others, the Royal Society and Universities UK, and the Government have also discussed the operation of the new controls with them. Officials from the DTI's Export Control Organisation will continue to work with them during the implementation period and beyond to help their members become aware of, understand and operate the new controls. I have asked that a meeting take place early in the new year, and we will work with the academics to provide appropriate guidance for academics. I hope that that allays any fears that the noble Lord, Lord May, or the noble Baroness, Lady Warwick, have about the matter. We will produce appropriate guidance, working with academics.

Detailed user guidance on the new controls has been published on the Export Control Organisation website, including frequently asked questions tailored for academics. The Export Control Organisation provides a helpline and free ratings inquiry service, which further helps academics understand and operate the new controls. Additional advice is provided by compliance officers during their regular audits of open licence holders, including suggestions to help open licence holders understand and comply with the terms and conditions of their licences. In addition to this ongoing communication effort, the Government will consider what further guidance may be necessary in collaboration with representatives of academia.

The Government are already committed to a systematic review of the new controls three years after their coming into force. We have also undertaken to work with representatives of institutions of higher education to monitor current preparations for the new controls and their operation during the first year after coming into force. I am more than happy to give a cast-iron assurance that, in both reviews, we will consult representatives of higher education institutes.

The Government accept that institutes of higher education and the research community do not have wide experience of export controls, and we are committed to helping them to comply with strategic export controls, both under the new controls introduced by the order and under the existing dual-use regulations.

Some concern has been expressed about the ability of academics dealing with information security to comply with the existing EC dual-use regulation. The main concern seems to be the record-keeping requirements of the Community General Export Authorisation—the CGEA—a form of open licence that permits anyone to transfer encryption software or technology controlled in annex 1 to the EC regulation within the Community and to 10 of our close allies, including the United States. The Government have met representatives of higher education institutes to discuss the issue and are willing to continue working with academics dealing with information security to help them meet their obligations under the existing controls. However, I stress that the controls have been in force for the past three years, and, although we are making every effort to be as flexible and understanding as possible, we are constrained by the record-keeping requirements of the EC regulation with regard to the CGEA.

The noble Baroness, Lady Miller of Hendon, raised the question of the extent to which the record-keeping requirements were necessary under the EC dual-use regulation. The regulation allows member states to attach national export control restrictions to the use of the CGEA in their territory. The Government have exercised the UK's right to attach further reporting requirements through national legislation on physical exports and electronic transfer of cryptographic items, software and technology to the 10 non-EC countries permitted as destinations under the CGEA. It is important to note that the further reporting requirements apply only to exports of cryptographic goods, software or technology specified in annex 1 to the EC regulations beyond the EC. The export of encryption beyond the EC raises national security issues, which the further reporting requirements address in a proportionate and workable way.

The noble Baroness also raised a point about record keeping and compliance for electronic transfers of military technology. I stress that we are not requiring records to be kept of every e-mail to an end-user, if a transfer takes place over a prolonged period. It is sufficient to identify the technology transferred, the dates between which it was transferred and the identity of the end-user. The detailed user guidance developed with industry representatives will make clear the practical record-keeping requirements under the new controls.

The belief has grown up in some quarters that no researcher will be able to collaborate or communicate with anyone in a sensitive area without first seeking a licence from the DTI. That is not the case. Section 8 of the Export Control Act 2002 specifically acknowledges that an order prohibiting or regulating the communication of information in the ordinary course of scientific research may not be made, unless the interference by the order is necessary and no more than necessary.

The new end-use controls apply only in specific circumstances, which I shall explain, relating to weapons of mass destruction programmes and missiles capable of their delivery. Even here, there will be an exemption for information in the public domain. We believe that the vast majority of scientists would, in any case, wish to avoid having their work contribute to such programmes. I do not believe therefore that those specific circumstances will arise frequently.

I will now give the House a clear explanation of the Government's position in answer to questions about the drafting of Articles 8 and 9 of the order. Article 8(1) contains the prohibition on the electronic transfer of software or technology. The article prohibits the transfer without licence of software or technology to a person or place in the United Kingdom, if the transferor has been informed by the Secretary of State that such software or technology is or may be intended, in its entirety or in part, for a relevant use; or if he is aware that it is intended for a relevant use, and he has reason to believe that it may be used outside the European Community. The phrase "any relevant use" is defined in Article 2. The definition follows the definition in the EC dual-use regulation and broadly covers usage in connection with weapons of mass destruction programmes.

For the test in Article 8(1) to be satisfied, the transferor must first either be informed by the Secretary of State or be aware that the software or technology is intended for a relevant use. For the "aware" part of the test to be met, there must be a realistic prospect that the person who has the intention to use the software or technology for a relevant purpose will be in receipt of the software or technology. The possible intention of an entirely unconnected person is not relevant. That, however, is not the end of the story. The transferor must also have reason to believe that a relevant use will take place, outside the EC. That does not mean that there is a theoretical possibility that it may be used outside the EC, a condition which, of course, may logically be satisfied in every case. Rather, there must be a positive reason for the belief on the part of the transferor. Article 8(5) confirms that by stating that, for the purposes of Article 8(1), a person has reason to believe that software or technology may be used outside the EC, if he knows that it may be, or is intended to be, so used, or if he has been informed by the Secretary of State that it is intended to be so used. If the constituent parts of that test are met, the transferor must apply for a licence before the transfer is made.

Article 9(3) contains the mirror provision to Article 8(1) in respect of the non-electronic transfer of software and technology. For the avoidance of doubt, the comments that I made about the interpretation of Article 8(1) apply equally to the interpretation of Article 9(3).

The wording of Article 10 is deliberately different from that in Articles 8 and 9, but the "is aware" test is the same as for those articles. A person may be "aware" only if he knows that he has goods intended for a relevant use.

The noble Baroness also raised a constitutional point. The new controls have been carefully framed to respect activities that fall under certain protected freedoms described in Section 8 of the Export Control Act 2002; namely, communicating or making information generally available to the public and communicating information in the ordinary course of scientific research. The Secretary of State may regulate such activity, if interference is necessary and no more than necessary, as determined by her in accordance with Section 8(2), and she considers that the new controls imposed by Articles 8 and 9 of the order are necessary.

I hope that what I have said for the record today will reassure the House and the academic community. As Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Science and Innovation, I am determined that nothing should stand in the way of productive international scientific relationships. Equally, I do not think that any scientist would want to see his or her work misused in a way that threatened the security of the country.

Baroness Miller of Hendon

My Lords, I thank the Minister for his statement. I tried to note carefully what he said. I noted particularly what he said at the beginning: he did not speak to me on Friday because he did not think that he could face me going through the Bill line by line at the beginning of the weekend. I hope that that does not mean that, in letting me have the Bill last night, he expected me to go through it line by line. That could not have been his intention, or he would have tried to hide something from me, and I am not suggesting that he did. On the other hand. I do not think that, if I had suggested that we go through some of the lines on Friday, it would have made the Minister's weekend as difficult as he made mine. Having said that, I am sure that it will not happen again.

I am not 100 per cent sure that all of our concerns have been met. In particular, it was interesting to hear that the Secretary of State would prevent people having licences only if she thought that it was necessary. I looked again as he was saying that. The question is: what is necessary? I have reread Section 8 of the Export Control Act 2002, which we passed together. Section 8(2) probably covers everything when it states, by reference to the circumstances prevailing at the time the order is made and having considered the reasons for seeking to control the activity in question and the need to respect the freedom to carry on that activity". I made the point that, ultimately, if any part was contravened, it could be ultra vires. I feel content to leave the matter at that because it probably would cover the position.

Therefore, for the moment, I am prepared to accept the assurances that the Minister has given, and the promise of co-operation with and guidance to be given to the academic community. I am very grateful to other noble Lords who supported me in what I said. I refer in particular to what the noble Lord, Lord May, said from his experience at Princeton. Nothing can take the place of experience when one is trying to make sense of what is in front of one, especially in the light of the three-year review of the operation of the Act, which is not too far in the future. I hope that makes it quite easy for the noble Baroness and Universities UK to accept. I therefore beg leave to withdraw my Motion.

Motion, by leave, withdrawn.