British High Commissioner to Pakistan

Philip Barton


Philip Barton took up post as British High Commissioner to Pakistan in January 2014.

Philip is a career diplomatic service officer. He joined the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in 1986 and worked on international economic and trade issues before being posted to Caracas as a political officer in 1987. In 1991, he returned to London and was seconded to the Cabinet Office Assessment Staff with responsibility for producing intelligence assessments on Eastern Europe (in particular the Balkans following the collapse of Yugoslavia) and the former Soviet Union for the Joint Intelligence Committee. In 1993, he moved back to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to the then European Community Department (Internal) to work on institutional aspects of the European Union and the legislation required to allow the UK to ratify the Maastricht Treaty.

In 1994, Philip was posted to New Delhi as First Secretary responsible for a range of foreign policy subjects. In 1997, he returned to London to become Private Secretary to the Prime Minister, working first for John Major and then for Tony Blair for three years following the election of the new Labour Government in May 1997.

In 2000, Philip moved to Nicosia as the Deputy Head of Mission in the British High Commission, where he worked closely with the US and UN in support of the UN Secretary General’s efforts to find a solution to the Cyprus problem. In 2005, he was posted to the UK overseas territory of Gibraltar as Deputy Governor. As such, he had day-to-day responsibility for the administration of the territory, in particular in the areas of internal security, justice and international relations. He played a leading role in the negotiation of a new Constitution for the territory and the conclusion of a ground-breaking trilateral agreement between the UK, Spain and Gibraltar (the Cordoba Agreement).

Philip returned to London in June 2008 as Additional Director for South Asia in the FCO with responsibility for the UK’s relations with South Asian countries, including Pakistan. In September 2009, he moved to a newly-created post in the Cabinet Office as Director, Afghanistan/Pakistan Co-ordinator with responsibility for co-ordinating the UK’s engagement in those countries. In May 2010, following the creation of the UK’s first National Security Council by Prime Minister Cameron, his role was expanded to cover all foreign policy issues as Director, Foreign Policy and Afghanistan/Pakistan Co-ordinator in the secretariat supporting the Council.

Immediately before coming to Islamabad, Philip was Deputy Head of Mission in the British Embassy in Washington working at the heart of the relationship between the UK and the US.

Philip was born in 1963. He studied economics and politics at Warwick University and has a Masters degree in economics from the London School of Economics. He is married to Amanda and they have a daughter and a son.

British High Commissioner to Pakistan

The High Commissioner is the UK government’s representative in a Commonwealth nation. They are responsible for the direction and work of the High Commission and its Deputy High Commissions and/or Consulates, including political work, trade and investment, press and cultural relations, and visa and consular services.

Previous roles in government

  1. Deputy Head of Mission to the USA

    • 2011 to 2013