A NEW group of scientific experts has been formed in response to concerns about the lack of transparency from the UK Government's Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage).

Former UK Government chief scientific adviser Sir David King, who worked under Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, has assembled the group to look at how the UK could work its way out of coronavirus lockdown.

The new 12-strong committee of academics is keen to investigate seven key points, including how can successful test and trace be achieved, and what social distancing measures will be needed in the future.

The group’s first press conference will be held on Sunday at 4pm, the same usual time as the Downing Street briefings over the weekend.

There have been concerns raised over discussions and attendance at Sage meetings, which are informing the Government's response to the Covid-19 crisis.

Last week, the current chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance said a partial list of Sage members would be issued "shortly" after the presence of Dominic Cummings, Boris Johnson's controversial aide, at some of the meetings was revealed.

READ MORE: SNP demand transparency after news Cummings attends Sage meetings

King has previously said he would never have allowed political advisers to attend the scientific meetings.

The Guardian reported him as saying: "Dominic Cummings has the ear of the prime minister, so who is informing the prime minister about scientific advice? Is it Cummings or is it the chief scientific adviser? Suddenly you get a confusion.

"There must be a single voice taking the view of the scientific community to the prime minister, that is the most important thing."

King revealed his plans in the Sunday Times and told the paper transparency within scientific discussion was essential.

He added: "I am not at all critical of the scientists who are putting advice before the Government ... but because there is no transparency the Government can say they are following scientific advice but we don't know that they are."

On Cummings' attendance at the meetings, he said: "Cummings is an adviser to the prime minister and the chief scientific adviser is an adviser to the prime minister.

"So there are two voices from the scientific advisory group and I think that's very dangerous because only one of the two understands the science."