George Freeman calls for Brexit to be the UK’s “Moonshot moment” to unleash UK science and innovation to tackle global challenges

17th July 2019

Speaking in the Prime Minister’s Questions, George Freeman celebrates President John F Kennedy's launch of the Apollo moonshot programme sixty years ago and salutes our pioneering astronauts Helen Sharman and Tim Peake and calls for Brexit to be the UK’s “Moonshot moment” to unleash UK science and innovation to tackle global challenges.

This weekend our sporting heroes, winners and losers, inspired a new generation. Science can also inspire. Sixty years ago, JFK electrified the world and united a divided and fearful nation with the inspiring Apollo moonshot programme, which also helped to defeat the Soviet Union and laid the foundations for US technology leadership. Will my right hon. Friend join me in saluting our pioneering scientist astronauts, Helen Sharman and Tim Peake, and agree with me that Brexit can and must be a moonshot moment for British science innovation to tackle global challenges?

I thank my hon. Friend for raising this issue. I am very happy to congratulate and salute our pioneering UK astronauts, Helen Sharman and Tim Peake. One of the first receptions I held in No. 10 Downing Street when I became Prime Minister was for Tim Peake, and it was inspiring to see how what he had done in space had encouraged young people in particular to develop an interest in space and science. We are global leader in science and innovation, and that will continue once we leave the European Union. Leaving the EU will open up opportunities for UK science and innovation to tackle global challenges.