ROBOTICS scientists at Oxford university warned Theresa May that a hard Brexit threatens the UK’s poll position in the race to develop driverless cars.

Paul Newman, head of the university’s Mobile Robotics Group, raised the alarm in a letter to the Government.

He warned ministers that if the UK does not guarantee EU citizens already living and working in the country the right to remain, it threatened the university’s ability to recruit world-leading team members for projects such as his.

And he also suggested that if the government did force EU citizens out of the country, he may be forced to move his robotics group elsewhere in Europe.

He wrote: “I do not believe I can sustain the UK’s position in this race if I cannot bring the right people to the UK and let them build careers here.

“Careless legislation that negates our efforts to build excellence and generate wealth in the UK from technical leadership would cause me to reconsider where I run and build such a group.”

Mr Newman was one of several academics at the university who warned the government against an EU citizens’ rights clamp-down in a submission to the Home Affairs Select Committee Immigration inquiry.

The House of Lords also called on the Government to protect the rights of EU citizens in the UK but MPs threw the proposed amendment out.

Article 50 is now due to be enacted in the next few weeks.