Political

Lib Dems secure government commitment to publish test and trace agreement with police

A Lib Dem press release brings the news…

Today, Liberal Democrat peer Paul Scriven has secured a commitment from Health Minister Lord Bethell to publish the agreement between the Government and police chiefs over the decision to share test and trace data.

This follows the Health Secretary’s refusal to make the Memorandum of Understanding public when Liberal Democrat Health and Care Spokesperson Munira Wilson asked him to just yesterday.

Following the exchange, Liberal Democrat peer Lord Scriven said:

An effective test, trace and isolate system to keep people safe will only work if the public have faith in it and this means the Government must be open and honest about how it uses people’s data.

It is absolutely crucial that the Government publishes its Memorandum of Understanding with police chiefs on sharing of Test and Trace data in full, otherwise they risk further undermining public trust in the system and discouraging people from getting tested.

I’m glad to have secured this commitment from the Minister, but he must now make sure the document is published for public scrutiny as soon as possible. The Liberal Democrats are clear that transparency over the use of personal data is essential to build public confidence in Test and Trace.

The exchange in the House of Lords was:

Lord Scriven: My Lords, despite what the Minister says, this Memorandum of Understanding has undermined some people’s trust in Test and Trace. And the best way to deal with that is to shed the light of transparency onto what actually is in the Memorandum of Understanding. So therefore will the Government commit to publish the Memorandum of Understanding?

Lord Bethell (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, Department of Health and Social Care): Well my Lords, I do commit to publishing the Memorandum of Understanding. That is our intention. It has to be cleared of some officials’ names and to be redacted accordingly, and when we’ve gone through that process we will be publishing it.

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