Dominic Cummings SAGE attendance a ‘non-story’, says Andrea Leadsom

Monday, April 27, 2020

Conservative MP Andrea Leadsom has defended Dominic Cummings for attending scientific advisory meetings after he was criticised in the press.

The government was accused of letting politics taint scientific advice issued by The Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) after it emerged that Boris Johnson’s chief adviser had been present in a number of discussions.

But Ms Leadsom told talkRADIO’s Julia Hartley-Brewer that the news was a “non-story”.

“I just am amazed that anybody would think it was an unreasonable thing,” the former Business Secretary said.

“Nobody is suggesting or pretending that Dom Cummings is somehow masquerading as a virus expert or something. He is merely attending a meeting on behalf of the minister he works for, the Prime Minister, as special advisers do always.”

WATCH: A former senior civil servant describes the criticism as 'nonsense'

But medical professor Dr Paul Hunter, who is an adviser to the World Health Organisation, said: “(If Cummings) was contributing to the discussion, then that means we need to be very cautious about the conclusions of SAGE.

“Because whether or not he did influence the outcomes we can’t know for certain, and therefore the validity of the advice coming out of the committee might be flawed.”

Former senior civil servant James Sorene argued that the idea of scientists being swayed by Mr Cummings was “nonsense”.

“These scientists are people who are some of our most distinguished and eminent scientists, with decades of experience behind them” he told talkRADIO.

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