- Just two scientists refused to allow their identities to be revealed to public
- Identity of Sage members previously a secret on security grounds
- But individual members including chair said they were not against openness
The membership of the secretive committee which has been advising the Government on its handling of coronavirus was finally made public today.
The names of those who sit on the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) had not previously been published on security and independence grounds.
But this morning the Government bowed to mounting pressure and release then names of 50 experts across many fields who have sat in regular meetings during the pandemic – with just two refusing to be identified.
It came amid a row over No10 aide Dominic Cummings attending meetings and will fuel speculation that he is one of the two members whose identities remain redacted.
Publishing the names on Gov.uk this afternoon, a Government Office for Science spokesman said: ‘These meetings are also regularly attended by officials from Her Majesty’s Government.
‘These attendees have not been named.
‘Permission to publish names was requested from all participants. Those who did not give permission have not been named.’
The names on the list include well-known figures who have been involved in the daily press conferences, including Sage chairman Sir Patrick Vallance, Chief Medical Officer Professor Chris Whitty and his deputies Dr Jenny Harries and Professor Jonathan Van Tam, and Public Health England medical director Professor Yvonne Doyle.
Others present are epidemiologist Professor Neil Ferguson and Dr Demis Hassabis, the chief executive of Google’s DeepMind subsidiary, which works on AI, who is a member in a ‘personal capacity as a data scientist’.
Sir Jeremy rejected concerns about No10 chief Dominic Cummings (pictured in Whitehall today) attending SAGE gatherings, which ministers say have dictated their response to the crisis
Official government list… https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/scientific-advisory-group-for-emergencies-sage-coronavirus-covid-19-response-membership/list-of-participants-of-sage-and-related-sub-groups