Leading foreign academics from the LSE (London School of Economics) acting as expert advisers to the UK government were barred from contributing to government work and analysis on Brexit because they are not British nationals.
Up to nine LSE academics specializing in EU affairs have been briefing the Foreign Office on Brexit issues, but the school was informed by the Foreign Office that submissions from non-UK citizens would no longer be accepted.
Sara Hagemann, a Danish assistant professor at the LSE who specialises in EU policymaking processes, tweeted on 6 October 2016 that she had been told her services would not be required:
— Sara Hagemann (@sarahagemann) October 6, 2016
The news was met with outrage by many academics, while legal experts questioned whether it could be legal under anti-discrimination laws and senior politicians criticized it as bewildering.
“It is utterly baffling that the government is turning down expert, independent advice on Brexit simply because someone is from another country,” said Nick Clegg, the Liberal Democrats’ EU spokesman. “This is yet more evidence of the Conservatives’ alarming embrace of petty chauvinism over rational policymaking.”
The Foreign Office was said to be concerned about the risk of sensitive material being exposed while the UK negotiates its EU exit and new trade deals.