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Interesting if true

Our fortnightly digest of facts and rumours from the UK and beyond.

Gagging order

There is an emerging trend for government departments to appoint civil servants internally instead of bringing in an independent academic as their chief scientific adviser. Government officials roll their eyes if we protest, explaining wearily that there is nothing to worry about, that these civil servants can be just as independent and that it’s not fair to imply otherwise. We phoned the Department for Culture, Media and Sport to arrange an interview with Chris Sharrock, the new ‘head of analysis’ who is supposed to fill the CSA vacuum there. “Civil servants do not talk to the press,” we were bluntly told. We hope John Beddington is taking note.

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