THOUSANDS of jobs are at risk in Oxfordshire as a result of the Government’s approach on Brexit, a Labour MEP has warned.

John Howarth, who represents the South East, said the Government is ‘just not listening to the business, education or research communities’, including those across the county, over its negotiating position.

He urged businesses ‘speaking to him’ to come out publicly after becoming sick of ‘banging their heads against a brick wall’ over the current stance..

He told the Oxford European Association on Tuesday: “The universities are major recipients of EU funding and lead EU sponsored research programmes – something it is by no means clear will be possible given the positions taken by the UK and the ‘no cherry picking’ insistence of the EU27.

“Having declared on a whim that the EU would entirely unnecessarily leave the Euratom treaty, 1,000 jobs at Culham are threatened unless a similar agreement can be re-invented.”

At the start of last year the world-leading Culham Centre for Fusion Energy said the decision to leave Euratom, which provided 60 per cent of its funding, was denounced by Brian Cox, a science expert and professor of particle physics at Manchester University, as ‘terrifically stupid’.

For months there has been the concern from some experts there that staff will leave the centre, based near Abingdon, and may also leave the UK.

Mr Howarth replaced current Oxford East MP Anneliese Dodds when she was elected to the House of Commons last June.

And he added: “The [Government’s] commitment to leave the EU customs union and single market seriously threatens the knowledge economy on which Oxford depends and will also radically affect the modern precision engineering and automotive industries which rely on production across national borders.”

Last week the Prime Minister laid out ‘hard facts’ over the Brexit process and warned how ‘no one will get everything they want’ from the negotiations.

She said: “The agreement we reach with the EU must respect the referendum. It was a vote to take control of our borders, laws and money.

“And a vote for wider change, so that no community in Britain would ever be left behind again.

“But it was not a vote for a distant relationship with our neighbours.”

But Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said Mini’s manufacture, starting off in Cowley, showed how the UK being part of a customs union will be critical in the future.

He said: “If we look at the example of one of Britain’s most iconic brands in this sector, the Mini, we begin to see how reliant our automotive industry is on a frictionless, interwoven supply chain.

“A Mini will cross the English Channel three times in a 2,000-mile journey before the finished car rolls off the production line.”