The advocacy group sent a legal letter to the government body in charge of protection Englandpublic health, warning of the challenge of the High Court, if it does not immediately publish data on the spread of the variant that was first discovered in India in schools.
A letter before the action sent by the advocacy group Citizens, work with AWO, a data protection firm, follows a report in the Observer that the English Public Health (PHE) was preparing to release the data on 13 May, but the Prime Minister’s Office intervened and put pressure on him not to do so.
The legal letter states that the public health authority is required by law to be independent of political interference and warns that it will undergo a judicial review if it does not release the data.
It refers to the PHE framework agreement with the Department of Health and Social Welfare, which states that it has “operational autonomy” and “will be free to publish and speak on those issues relating to national health and well-being in order to determine professional, scientific and objective judgment of the evidence base ”.
Clara Maguire, CEO of Citizens, said: “It is against belief that Public Health England refuses to publish this vital public health data on the spread of the so-called Indian variant in schools despite scientists, teachers, parents and unions saying they needed to protect their health and the health of their children.
“We believe there is an immediate risk to life. The public now needs this information and we believe that PHE is acting illegally by denying it. It is unbelievable that a matter of vital importance to our public health can be the subject of political interference. “
The letter states that PHE has promised stakeholders that the data will be included in the reports “12. May or about that date “and that PHE” violated a legitimate expectation “by not publishing at the time.
On Thursday, eight unions wrote to Education Secretary Gavin Williamson, requesting the publication of the same data.