The national watchdog on statistics has added its weight to growing criticism of how a potentially misleading graph was presented by the government to justify England's second national lockdown.
The watchdog singled out the data modelling presented during the Oct. 31 press conference in which the national lockdown plans were announced.
The OSR said that the lack of transparency about data used during high-profile public briefings was undermining public trust in the data and creating more confusion.
They recommend the government publish all available information alongside any future briefings, including the methodology behind modelling.
Scientific advisers have defended their use of the models saying that they didn’t intend to frighten people and that the data was used in good faith.
Criticism by MPs and Former Party LeadersSome MPs criticised the government over the lack of transparency during the ramp-up to the vote on the lockdown in England.
“It appears the decision to go towards this lockdown was partly, mainly, to some extent based on the prediction of 4,000 deaths a day,” May told the Commons during the debate on the lockdown measures.
“Yet if you look at the trajectory showing in that graph that went to 4,000 deaths a day, we would have reached 1,000 deaths a day by the end of October,” she said.
Like some other MPs, May also said that evidence showed that cases of the CCP virus were falling across all ages in some areas of local lockdown, saying that there hadn’t been enough analysis of the effectiveness of current three-tier measures.
She said that there also had not been enough analysis of the broader costs of lockdown measures, such as impact on other health conditions, suicides, mental health, domestic violence as well as to the economy.
The new measures restrict all but essential shopping in England, ban social mixing with more than one person from another household even outdoors, and will shut down pubs, restaurants, leisure centres, and gyms. Schools and colleges will remain open.
In total, 21 Conservatives MPs abstained from the vote. Among the 32 Tory MPs voting “no” was another former party leader, Ian Duncan Smith.
He described as “appalling” the leak that set the government scrambling over the weekend into an early announcement of the nascent plans.
“Whoever did it should be sacked, strung up to dry,” he said.
The leak had “bounced” the government into a decision, he said. “I’d like to think that the government would have then spent its time investigating the data that was being presented to them that has now subsequently unravelled in the last few days.”