Scientists have 'no idea' where the evidence for some Scottish Government lockdown decisions is coming from.

Linda Bauld, Professor of Public Health at Edinburgh University, praised Nicola Sturgeon's handling of information during the coronavirus pandemic but said the basis for some decisions had been unclear.

The academic was speaking to MPs at the Scottish Affairs Committee in Westminster this afternoon where she said that the First Minister was "far better" at communicating and being "able to say where a decision has come from" than the UK Government had been.

However she added: "I think some of their more recent decisions about the pace are really unclear to me. For example, we heard today that the hospitality venues that can operate outdoors are not going to be able to do that in the near future in Scotland, which I think is going to cause a lot of problems for that sector.

“Some of the other decisions around releasing of lockdown, and also the point that [was made] about some of the inconsistencies in the details and the advice, I have no idea where these are coming from.

“And to be perfectly frank, when I've spoken to some of my colleagues who sit on the advisory group, it's not obvious where they're coming from. So not everything has been transparent, at all.”

Professor Bauld was joined by Akash Paun, Senior Fellow at the Institute for Government, Professor Nicola McEwen, Co-Director at the Centre of Constitutional Change and Professor David Bell a Professor of Economics at the University of Stirling During the session.

Mr Paun said the Scottish Government's approach to information sharing was one that Westminster "could learn from" and added: " There's a greater degree of transparency about the Scottish Government's decision making approach. I don't say that with any party-political hats on but I think there's been a greater openness the UK Government could learn from."

Professor Bell warned that Scotland was going to see further coronavirus outbreaks similar to that currently in Beijing "pretty soon", and suggested that further work needed to be done to allow people to make quick decisions to tackle the spread of the virus.

He said: "Both governments have a very difficult task to go from an extreme lockdown to one by where they need to encourage people to get out into the community start interacting again...I'm pretty sure we're going to get outbreaks pretty soon in similar ways to the one that just occurred in China.

"It does seem to me that that you have to empower people at a local level to take quick decisions. That's not necessarily at the level of the UK Government to the Scottish Government, it may be at a lower level still."

The witnesses were asked whether the coronavirus crisis might provide a "platform" to improve relationships between the Scottish and UK Governments.

Professor McEwen said she was "pessimistic" over whether progress would be made, and cited Brexit and Independence as reasons for problems, adding that there had "been a lack of trust and lack of awareness of devolution in Whitehall".

The Scotland Office, headed up by Alister Jack also came in for criticism with Mr Paun telling MPs the office served as a centre for "institutional memory about the Scottish devolution settlement".

He said: "The Scotland office, it does serve a function within Whitehall as a centre of expertise to some extent, or institutional memory perhaps, about the Scottish devolution settlement. It holds contacts, relationships networks in Scotland that can prove useful to some extent to other departments, but it has never, or not for some time, been a central player in managing intergovernmental relations."