No change at FCO

October 27, 2016

Readers may have gained a false impression from the article “Foreign LSE scholars ‘stopped from briefing government on Brexit’” (7 October). It reported claims that the Foreign and Commonwealth Office told the London School of Economics that non-UK citizens could no longer brief the government on Brexit-related matters.

This is to stress that nothing has in fact changed as a result of the 23 June referendum. While there have always been restrictions around nationality and security for work in the FCO, there has been no extension of such requirements to the external provision of research, advice or training, be that on European or on other issues.

The FCO made this clear in a public statement on 7 October, and the LSE has issued a statement to journalists welcoming the clarification. This does not appear to have received wide coverage, so I want to assure readers that the FCO seeks and will continue to seek advice from the best scholars, whether British, European Union or other. Indeed we hope to increase interaction with academic experts.

Cornelia Sorabji
Head of research analysts Foreign and Commonwealth Office

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