The Covid Inquiry has been accused of wasting time and resources by inviting input from two-thirds of the members of the pro-lockdown, Left-wing lobby group Independent SAGE, led by Communist Susan Michie. The Telegraph has the story.
Baroness Heather Hallett, the Chair of the Inquiry, has written to 17 members of Independent Sage which criticised the country’s re-opening and later called for fresh lockdowns.
Independent Sage claimed to shadow the work of the official Scientific Advisory Group and says it is “following the science” but has faced questions over its credibility after calling for lockdowns in the summer and winter of 2021.
The multi-million pound inquiry will hear its first evidence this week, two years after it was first announced, from experts behind the Government’s contingency planners in the run-up to the pandemic.
But concerns have been raised after it emerged that two-thirds of Independent Sage’s current and former members have been asked for evidence despite playing no official role during the pandemic.
Based on current timetabling of around two hours per witnesses this could mean the inquiry could spend between nearly two to three weeks questioning the scientists if all were asked to give evidence.
The group’s deputy chair is Professor Susan Michie, who has been a member of the Communist Party of Britain for almost 50 years, and several of its academics are not experts in responding to pandemics.
The inquiry has issued 19 letters to “those individuals as well as to a number of other scientists”, indicating few other scientists who did not give direct advice to the Government have been approached.
In contrast two academics who complained government models were wrong, Professor Karol Sikora and Dr. Tom Jefferson, have been snubbed by the inquiry.
Prof. Sikora, a leading oncologist, said he was not surprised the inquiry had chosen not to contact him and expected them to focus on those who backed the official narrative on lockdowns.
Another set of lockdown critics – Professor Carl Heneghan and Professor Sunetra Gupta, both from the University of Oxford – have been contacted with the inquiry. However, this is because they gave advice to ministers late in the pandemic. …
Professor Michie once said that social distancing should remain “forever, to some extent” while in December 2021, [Independent SAGE’s] Dr. Deepti Gurdasani called for “a circuit breaker” lockdown over the Omicron variant and later claimed lockdown was inevitable.
Former minster and one-time Tory leader Sir Iain Duncan Smith hit the nail on the head:
The point about this Covid Inquiry is this is the sort of stuff we should be looking at and asking the question did we need to lockdown? At the moment what I can make out is they are not doing that. What they are actually doing is they are getting involved in the why didn’t we lockdown earlier debate and I worry they will ignore the whole question of did we need to lockdown in the way that we did. That’s the big question.