Theresa May calls for business people to attend government's scientific adviser group

Former prime minister Theresa May

Former prime minister Theresa May - Credit: Parliament Live

Former Tory prime minister Theresa May has reportedly told prime minister Boris Johnson that business-minded experts should be added to the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage).

May told the 1922 committee of backbench Tory MPs that she is keen that more business-minded people appeared at the meetings to give scientists more of an understanding about the economy.

However, Boris Johnson dismissed the suggestion because the committee is purely for scientists, and said it would end up being called "Beige" , before laughing to himself.

Asked about May's comments on LBC Radio, minister Therese Coffey dismissed the suggestion.

“Sage is there about the specific element of science,”  she said.

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“The prime minister is advised by a number of different people – ministers and also officials – in order to make sure he takes that balanced approach.

“And as this approach is about having social isolation that still allows people to go to school, hospital, work that means we keep the focus as well on economic freedoms, so it is that balance of lives versus livelihoods.

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“Sage is the place for scientists not business people.”

On restrictions being escalated in London, Ms Coffey said: “Clearly these infection rates and the escalation of them will be kept under review, usually on a fortnightly basis, and if London needs to go into Tier 2, it may.

“But right now that is not the approach that is being recommended and we need to keep working together to ensure we can keep life as normal as we can.”

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