Sunday, 29 April 2018 09:42


The Foreign and Commonwealth Office met with Cambridge Analytica on several occasions, and paid over £400 000 to its parent company Strategic Communications Laboratories (former name of SCL Group), it has been revealed today.
Following a Freedom of Information request submitted by the Scottish National Party, the UK government department revealed FCO officials in London, Washington and New York met representatives from Cambridge Analytica “to work to better understand the 2016 presidential election in the US, the political environment that followed and to build relationships with the Trump Presidential campaign and transition team.”
Cambridge Analytica is being investigated over its Facebook data collection methods during the Brexit vote and the 2016 US election.
The FCO also confirmed to the SNP that SCL delivered a project in 2008/9 “providing research and surveys into public opinion” in a “UK effort to assist Pakistan” in tackling terrorism. The value of the contract was £402,501.95. 
It has previously been reported in the Guardian how SCL had access to confidential information at the Ministry of Defence, and was singled out for praise by the MoD for the training it provided to a psychological operations warfare group.
The SNP has called on all parties and campaign organisations – including the Conservatives, the Conservative-linked Scotland in Union, the Leave campaign and the DUP to match their level of transparency and come forward with details of their interactions and agreements with Cambridge Analytica, AggregateIQ, and SCL firms.
Commenting, SNP Westminster Leader Ian Blackford MP said:
“The FCO’s dealings with Cambridge Analytica and the £400 000 given to SCL is an alarming revelation, and raises further questions about the UK government’s dealings with these controversial companies. 
"How many other government departments have had such relations with SCL and CA? 
“I previously set out a number questions about the links between the Conservative Party and Cambridge Analytica to the Prime Minister but I’ve yet to receive an answer. 
“In Prime Minister’s Questions, Theresa May failed to say why AggregateIQ bosses were photographed on Downing Street. 
“The UK government, as well as other political parties, need to follow the SNP’s lead and offer complete transparency.”
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