Government to publish list of Sage experts 'shortly'

27 April 2020, 11:49

Sir Patrick Vallance, the chef scientific adviser
Sir Patrick Vallance, the chef scientific adviser. Picture: PA
EJ Ward

By EJ Ward

The names of some of the scientists who have been advising the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) will be published "shortly", the Government's chief scientific adviser has said.

Sir Patrick Vallance told a briefing for science journalists the identities of the experts are usually revealed after the emergency is over, and that had also been the advice for the coronavirus crisis.

However, he added: "But I believe that we should be more prepared to publish names sooner, and intend to do so shortly.

"So we will be publishing names of those that are happy to have their names published."

He added that the group would also be releasing a list of the documents, and eventually the documents themselves, that have fed into Sage meetings.

Sir Patrick said only the experts who are "happy to have their names published" would be made public, as the Prime Minister returned to Downing Street pledging "maximum possible transparency".

Downing Street confirmed some of the Sage participants will be named "in the coming days" while further advice documents from the group will be published this week.

"It's right that only the names of those who wish to disclose their participation will be published," the Prime Minister's official spokesman said.

"This is to safeguard the personal security for the individuals and to protect them from lobbying which may hinder their ability to give impartial advice."

He added that the Sage advice documents and evidence are expected to be published some time this week.

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Sage's purpose is to provide independent scientific advice to government in emergencies during periods of crisis but the Government has come under increasing pressure to release a list of members.

The move comes after Downing Street was forced to deny reports that Dominic Cummings was a "member" of the group advising on the UK's coronavirus response but accepted he had attended some meetings.