Scottish Labour Leader Kezia Dugdale has written to the Foreign Secretary in light of media reports that foreign academics have been ‘barred’ from advising the Foreign Office.

Dear Foreign Secretary,

Foreign nationals advising the UK Government

I am writing to you following media reports that foreign academics may have been ‘barred’ from advising the UK Government on Brexit because of their nationality.

I would be grateful for a clear confirmation that this is not the case now and will not be the case in the future. Academics from all around the world work at Scotland’s universities and it is my view, which will be widely shared by people across Scotland, that they should not be disbarred from providing advice on this important issue.

Five of the world’s best universities can be found in Scotland and their success is due in part to their ability to draw the best academic talent from around the world to our shores. We should celebrate this success and use such expertise to enhance the policy process. Not denigrate it and then shun those experts who have chosen to make their lives here.

Following on from the events of Conservative Party conference, the eyes of the world are on the United Kingdom. There is widespread revulsion at the insular and intolerant direction the UK government appears set on taking.

These latest proposals come just days after a suggestion that firms should list how many foreign workers they have, and the NHS should become ‘self-sufficient’ from immigrant doctors.

I fear the UK government risks becoming so enthralled to nationalism that it is prepared to ignore expert advice on the most complex geopolitical and socio-economic event in modern history on the simple basis of where that expert was born.

I look forward to a prompt reply.

Kezia Dugdale
Leader of the Scottish Labour Party