Nicola Sturgeon censured by UK chief statistician after claim coronavirus is five times lower in Scotland than England

"We urge greater transparency and clearer explanations in any future comparisons,” he told the first minister’s government.

Nicola Sturgeon has been censured by the UK’s chief statistician after using incomplete data to claim Covid-19 was five times less prevalent in Scotland than in England.

Ed Humpherson, the director general of the Office of Statistics Regulation, said Sturgeon’s claims earlier in July were not based on comparable or published data, and should not have been made.

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“The sources used to underpin this claim have been difficult to identify,” he told Sturgeon’s government.

Nicola Sturgeon censured from UK statistics organisations for claiming Covid-19 five is times lower in Scotland than England

In a statement released on twitter today the statistic organisation said: “Today we have written to Scottish Government to highlight our concerns around comparisons made of Covid-19 prevalence rates between Scotland and England.

"We urge greater transparency and clearer explanations in any future comparisons.”

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Miles Briggs, Scottish Conservative shadow health secretary said: “This verdict could not be more clear - the First Minister repeatedly gave a misleading picture of the state of the ‎outbreak across the UK.

“This flawed analysis was the basis of major policy decisions and had serious repercussions for our tourism industry and our society.

“The First Minister’s use of these dodgy statistics even led to repeated warnings that the border could be closed which, in turn, triggered ugly protests that have damaged Scotland's reputation as a welcoming country.

“It is hard not to conclude that the First Minister pushed this unreliable comparison, with no context, for her own political purposes.

“The First Minister must apologise for misleading the Scottish Parliament and the Scottish public.”

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In her daily briefing on Friday, July 31, Nicola Sturgeon defended the government’s use of statistics and said her main focus is on the progress of the country getting through this health crisis.

A Scottish Government spokeswoman said: “The Scottish Government has been recognised by the Office for Statistics Regulation for its open approach in regularly publishing a wide range of transparent information. We continue to push the UK government to take the same approach and to publish COVID-19 prevalence statistics that would make this information publicly available.

“The decisions we are taking to ease lockdown restrictions while still suppressing the virus are based on prevalence data. It is legitimate to use the evidence that is available to highlight differences in prevalence.”

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