Minister: Publishing details of Covid vaccine contract is 'national security risk'

29 January 2021, 08:21 | Updated: 29 January 2021, 08:30

EJ Ward

By EJ Ward

The Prisons Minister has told LBC that publishing details of the Covid vaccine contract could be a risk to national security.

Speaking after Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon suggested she may publish details of coronavirus vaccine supplies arriving in the country Lucy Frazer has said it could "risk national security."

Prisons Minister Lucy Frazer was asked by LBC's Nick Ferrari what her thoughts were to the suggestion the details could be published.

"Security is the most important matter," the Minister said in reply.

When Nick asked her why she would be concerned about the publication of the contract the Minister said thus far the Government had published "what was appropriate to publish."

Setting out some of the details which had already been published the Minister then said that would not be the case "if it risks national security for some reason."

Nick then asked, "how does it risk national security?"

The Conservative MP replied that it was her "understanding that it risks national security."

Setting out some details she said, "if we can not vaccinate people and it risks the supply then that is a matter of security."

"How is national security at risk by the publication of this contract," the LBC presenter asked again.

Replying, the Prisons Minister said it "risks security, the security of the vaccine, which risks the security of the people because we do want to vaccinate everybody that needs vaccinating as quickly as possible."

But, the Scottish Government could start publishing details of coronavirus vaccine supplies arriving in the country as early as next week - despite a previous outcry from the UK Government when numbers were made public.

The UK Government previously claimed that setting out how many doses are expected and when could breach commercial confidentiality.

Speaking during First Minister's Questions Nicola Sturgeon recalled that when her Government initially published the expected supply details, she had "the UK Government demanding we took that out of the public domain".

But at the same time she said UK politicians were "quite happy to brief these figures through spin to the media".

As a result of this, she added: "I have said to my officials regardless of what they say, I think we will just go back to publishing the actual supply figures from next week, so that we all have transparency around that."