Date of release: Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Brexit and what it means for the future of the United Kingdom is the subject of a major new lecture series taking place at the University of Greenwich.

In talks taking place between January and March 2018, four distinguished speakers will be tackling the issues arising from Brexit. The series will ask fundamental questions such as how the UK can prosper outside the European Union, and what, post-Brexit, the main principles for our foreign and security policy should be.

The joint host of the lecture series is Sir Leigh Lewis, Former Permanent Secretary at the Department of Work and Pensions, and Visiting Fellow in the university's Business School. He says: "Never in my lifetime in government has the UK appeared to be at such a fundamental crossroads as it is now. Will we indeed prosper as a newly liberated and independent trading nation as those in favour of Brexit assert? Or will we be condemned for a generation or more to be an increasingly impoverished offshore island, waning in power and influence, as many remainers believe?"

The series commences on 24 January with Peter Hain, giving a talk entitled 'Is there any salvation for the UK from Brexit?'. A senior politician who served in the Cabinets of both Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, he was MP for Neath for nearly a quarter of a century and was created a life peer in 2015.

The second talk in the series, on 7 February, features RadosÅ‚aw 'Radek' Sikorski, a senior Polish politician, whose theme is 'European Union – the empire Britain has refused to rule'. He has held various key roles in Poland's government, including those of Minister of National Defence and Minister of Foreign Affairs.

'Post-Brexit on the World Stage: Roar Like a Lion or Squeak Like a Mouse?' is the title of the third lecture, to be given by Sir Simon Gass on 14 February. A highly experienced diplomat, Sir Simon is a former Political Director at the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office, and is Vice-Chair of Court at the University of Greenwich.

The last talk features Gus O'Donnell, the distinguished former top civil servant and economist, who is discussing 'Making Brexit Work' on 14 March. During his career he held office as the Cabinet Secretary and Head of the Civil Service, serving under three Prime Ministers between 2005 and 2011. He was created a life peer in 2012 and sits in the House of Lords as a crossbencher.

Jon Sibson, Pro Vice-Chancellor for the university's Business School, adds: "The United Kingdom will be leaving the European Union in 2019. That much is clear. The transitional arrangements and, more importantly, the long term relationship between the UK and the EU remain to be settled.

"I am delighted that four such distinguished speakers from both within and outside the UK will be contributing their outstanding knowledge and experience in helping us answer some of the big questions we all have. I look forward to some thought-provoking debates."

Story by Public Relations.

Picture: Sir Leigh Lewis.