An SNP MP has accused the Home Office of “intransigence” for refusing to grant a visa to a senior Palestinian academic involved in Government-funded research projects.
Patrick Grady (Glasgow North) raised the case of Dr Nazmi Al-Masri, vice president for external relations at the Islamic University of Gaza, who has been denied an entry visa to the UK to take part in research projects at the University of Glasgow.
Dr Al-Masri’s absence “seriously curtails” a number of research projects, while potentially causing damage to good will between nations, Mr Grady said.
Speaking during a Commons debate on Israel and Palestinian talks, he said: “I understand that Dr Al-Masri has a 30-year history of entering and returning from the United Kingdom and he was due to travel to support research at the University of Glasgow as a co-investigator on UK Research Council-funded grants, including a £2 million project on translating projects and other projects on global mental health and Erasmus programmes.
“His collaborator at Glasgow University tells me that his visa refusal seriously curtails the impact of the programme and institution to continue to fulfil the aims of projects that have already been funded by the UK Government’s own research councils.
“My question is how can this kind of intransigence by the Home Office possibly help to promote good will and understanding?
“Where is the UK’s soft power and diplomatic influence if it won’t allow academics in good standing entry into the United Kingdom to promote the peaceful study of understanding between cultures and on global mental health?”