South West and Gibraltar MEP Dr Julia Reid has today slammed the launch of a new pro-EU campaign by the Universities UK group.

The UKIP MEP says today’s launch of The Universities for Europe campaign shows “pro-EU propaganda”, and not open-minded learning, is rife in University lecture rooms.

Universities UK is scheduled to launch the campaign at University College London at noon today with speeches from Chuka Umunna MP, Damian Green MP and Professor Dame Julia Goodfellow, Vice Chancellor of the University of Kent.

In her speech today, Dame Goodfellow is expected to say: “The case for staying in Europe is about ensuring the prosperity of the UK…it’s about the UK standing in the world, it’s about British jobs and it’s about opportunities for British people now and in the future.

“In the referendum debate, universities must stand up and be counted. We should be a powerful and positive voice on the benefits of EU membership.”

But, commenting ahead of today’s planned launch, UKIP South West and Gibraltar Julia Reid MEP, said she was deeply concerned that Universities UK was putting pro-EU propaganda when it should be focusing its attention on providing students with open-minded learning.

She said: “Education is the process of facilitating learning, knowledge and skills. It is not about propagating propaganda and spin.

“Universities UK says it wants to be a positive voice but how can it be positive for the UK to be shackled by EU red tape that prevents us negotiating our own free trade deals as a sovereign nation.

“The UK should be free to trade with the world and not be dictated to through negative interference and control from the EU.

“JCB, one of the UK’s largest manufacturing companies, recently said exiting the EU would have no negative impact on the UK’s trade with Europe.

“The company also said the UK, should it pull out of the EU, could negotiate as a country rather than as a bloc of 28 nations.

“I do not think pro-EU propaganda belongs in our universities which should concentrate on delivering open-minded learning.”