LSE stays silent on Libya link

By Martin Bright, May 12, 2011

The London School of Economics has refused requests from Harlow MP Robert Halfon for further information about its relationship with Libya.

Mr Halfon led the charge against the LSE when it was revealed it had received a multi-million pound donation from Saif al-Islam, the son of the Libyan dictator. The MP's grandfather was a Libyan Jew forced to abandon his home in Tripoli after antisemitic pogroms in the 1960s.

The scandal led to the resignation of the LSE's former director Sir Howard Davies. His successor, Professor Judith Rees, has passed any new information about the Libyan deal to Lord Woolf, who is conducting an inquiry into the affair. The college maintained that its actions were not a delaying tactic and that any disclosure would "inhibit the free and frank exchange of views" – grounds for an exemption under the Freedom of Information Act.

A statement from the LSE's legal and compliance team said: "If the information which you have requested is released into the public domain then it is likely to prejudice the ongoing work and eventual outcome of Lord Woolf's inquiry."

Mr Halfon is also being hampered in his attempts to wring further information out of other academic institutions funded by authoritarian Middle East regimes. Several have told him that the cost would be too high to give him the information he has requested.

Last updated: 2:39pm, May 12 2011