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Bethell sacked – for destroying evidence in ‘government by personal email’ scandal?

Lord Bethell: he previously claimed he never used his private accounts for official business. Now he has been sacked by the Tory Government – as This Site suggested. Is he about to face court action too?

Before we start, it should be made clear that Boris Johnson has given no reason for sacking Lord Bethell as a health minister in his Cabinet reshuffle.

That being said, Bethell is a key figure in a major – ongoing – scandal in which government decisions may have been made using personal email and/or WhatsApp accounts in order to avoid public scrutiny.

Bethell had claimed that he never used his private email or telephone accounts for official business – but then replaced his mobile phone before it could be searched for information relevant to £85m of PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) deals that are subject to a legal challenge.

The government is expected to disclose Bethell’s correspondence on those matters – by email, WhatsApp and SMS – as part of legal proceedings issued by the Good Law Project.

The Health Secretary has a responsibility to preserve and search documents for information relevant to the case from the point at which judicial review proceedings were issued in late 2020, under the government’s “duty of candour” – and the phone was replaced in early 2021.

The government has admitted it made no effort to issue Bethell with a preservation notice requiring him to save documents, claiming that ministers’ official correspondence was routinely saved as a matter of course. However, this did not cover government business conducted by private means.

It seems Bethell has not reactivated his WhatsApp, SMS and private email accounts from that phone, although there is nothing to stop him from doing so. Efforts are being made to recover information in those accounts from his mobile phone provider.

I wonder if those efforts have borne fruit and Bethell’s departure from government is happening ahead of more serious proceedings in the courts.

Whatever happens there, this development indicates that Boris Johnson’s government is not as immune to public scrutiny as he has previously tried to suggest.

The prime minister has often shrugged off criticism after serious complaints were made about his own misbehaviour and that of his ministers, but at least three of the worst offenders – Gavin Williamson, Robert Jenrick and now Bethell – have been ejected in the reshuffle.

Is Johnson going for plausible deniability – putting distance between himself and Bethell so he won’t be caught in the backlash if serious wrongdoing is exposed?

Tory lord says foreign-owned firms perform better. But WHERE DOES THE MONEY GO?

Morrisons: the supermarket chain is currently subject of a bidding war between overseas investors. It doesn’t matter who wins; British shoppers will lose.

This Lord Grimstone is apparently a business minister, which explains why the UK’s economy is tanking after Brexit.

He reckons “overseas invested companies are more productive and produce more jobs”.

And he has pointed at the fact that foreign investors have spent more money acquiring UK-listed businesses in the last eight months than in the previous five years.

This Writer has just two points to make.

Firstly, are foreign investors perhaps bidding on UK firms because Brexit and Covid-19 have cut their value to a fraction of what they were?

These people are probably hoping to make a cheap investment that will turn into a massive profit when the economy starts opening up again. This leads me to the next point.

Secondly, if formerly UK-owned firms are bought up by foreign investors, won’t all the profits go abroad, rather than staying in the UK? Put simply, won’t they bleed us dry?

A good example of this is our privatised rail service, which is now largely owned by foreign government-owned rail firms, meaning the enormous prices we pay for our train tickets helps to subsidise cheap rail travel across continental Europe.

And millions believed the Tories when they said Brexit meant taking back control!

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How will minister be punished for replacing phone before it could be searched?

Lord Bethell: he previously claimed he never used his private accounts for official business so we know he’s a liar. Shouldn’t he be sacked by the Tory government?

The answer is that Lord Bethell probably won’t be punished at all.

But if he were involved in a criminal investigation (and he might as well be – as the awarding of many deals for supply of Personal Protective Equipment to Tory chums and/or donors who were incapable of providing it seems extremely crooked) and he ditched the evidence, he would be charged with a crime.

Here are the facts:

Labour has called for an inquiry into the use of WhatsApp within the government, after it emerged a health minister replaced his mobile phone before it could be searched for information relevant to £85m of deals that are subject to a legal challenge.

James Bethell, who oversaw the award of Covid contracts, is one of those under scrutiny over the way deals for personal protective equipment (PPE) and tests were allocated at the height of the pandemic.

As part of legal proceedings issued by the Good Law Project, the government is expected to disclose Lord Bethell’s correspondence including by email, WhatsApp and SMS relating to the award of £85m of contracts for antibody tests to Abingdon Health.

The secretary of state has a responsibility to preserve and search documents for information relevant to the case from the point at which judicial review proceedings were issued in late 2020, under the government’s “duty of candour”.

However, a witness statement from a government lawyer revealed Bethell replaced his phone in early 2021 and it may no longer be possible to retrieve the information about his dealings with Abingdon, although efforts are being made to recover them from his mobile phone provider.

The statement said Bethell had used his official email account as well as his private email account to send and receive emails relevant to the contracts, and that he had also used his mobile phone for SMS and WhatsApp messages. But it said Bethell had confirmed that about six months ago his phone was broken and replaced and that his new phone did not contain the phone data.

Government lawyers revealed Bethell had not been issued with a “preservation notice” requiring him to save documents because ministers’ official correspondence was routinely saved as a matter of course. However, this did not cover government business conducted by private means.

What does he have to hide?

When they’re under an investigation with legal consequences, people with nothing to fear don’t destroy the evidence.

And Bethell must know that the information will be available by other means – although logically there shouldn’t be anything to stop him from reactivating his WhatsApp, SMS and private email accounts. Why hasn’t he done so?

The fact that government preservation notices don’t cover business conducted by private means, while government ministers are allowed to carry out government business in that way and are trusted to duplicate it into the public system, is a huge opening for corruption.

And it seems clear that this particular minister has exploited it.

Maybe I’m wrong – and I’ll be happy to apologise of Lord Bethell can provide clear proof that he was not responsible for any wrongdoing.

But I won’t hold my breath waiting for it.

Source: Covid contracts: minister replaced phone before it could be searched | Health policy | The Guardian

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Tories plan to hit people over 60 with prescription charges

Prescription: if you’re over 60 and you need one of these – especially if it’s on a regular basis – then the price is set to skyrocket under a new Tory plan to make money for private healthcare firms.

Is this some of the government policy Lord Bethell has been discussing on his private email account, to keep it away from pesky Freedom of Information requests?

The Conservatives are planning to raise the age at which people may receive free prescriptions in England from 60 to 66, in line with the state pension age.

That’s the wrong yardstick, of course.

Firstly, prescriptions should be free to everybody because we all pay into the National Health Service via our taxes. If you are in England and you pay for prescriptions, you are literally paying twice for your medicine.

Secondly, if free prescriptions must be rationed, then in a country where many people are extremely poor, it makes sense to provide them to those who are most likely to need them – meaning, if they must be pegged to age, that they should become available at the age when most people start to suffer the illnesses associated with age.

The problem is that this is not a matter of medical need; it is about giving more money to the private companies that the Tory government has allowed to flood into the health service in order to make a profit from your pain.

That’s around £300 million per year, according to Lord Bethell – around £46.75 for an average person without need for regular medication – or £130.90 for people who need more than 12 prescriptions a year. And that’s at current prices which are sure to increase.

It’s a typical Tory back-of-a-fag-packet idea, based on a desire to rake in cash for people who don’t need it, from people who desperately do – but aren’t being given a choice about whether to give it up.

In other words: extortion.

Ministers are consulting on raising the age when people become eligible for free prescriptions in England to 66-years-old – but pharmacists branded the plan ‘unacceptable’

Source: People over 60 could be hit by prescription charges under new Government plans – Mirror Online

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If the Tories knew Northern Ireland protocol was a bad deal then they failed in their duty to the UK

The culprit: Boris Johnson screwed up Brexit by agreeing a trade deal so bad that it could end the fragile peace in Northern Ireland, just because he wanted to hit a deadline he had set for it. And he simply doesn’t care.

According to Tory Lord Barwell, it is wrong for Brexit minister Lord Frost to say the government underestimated the amount of restriction traders would suffer when moving goods to Northern Ireland; Boris Johnson knew the effect would cause serious harm all along.

Barwell says Johnson agreed that part of the Brexit trade deal solely because he “wanted to get Brexit done”.

So he went with a bad deal – knowing that it was bad.

He signed it because he wanted to hit a deadline.

And he signed it, reckless as to the effect it would have on trade in the province.

Worse still, he signed that deal in the knowledge that it would destabilise Northern Ireland and could end the fragile peace that has held there since 1998, because his deal rides roughshod over that deal’s conditions.

That is serious dereliction of duty, if true.

Barwell went on to say he thought Johnson had intended to “wriggle out” of the NI protocol later.

How’s that going for him, then?

Lord Frost, who negotiated the protocol, wrote [that] the UK had sent a “detailed proposal” for a veterinary agreement [but] “we have had very little back” from the EU.

He’s unlikely to get anything more. The EU has fulfilled its responsibility to its member states, and as an added bonus, a former member state that left has managed to create a hugely difficult problem for itself, that may be impossible to resolve.

If Barwell is correct, then the dire deal is entirely Boris Johnson’s fault, and the consequences of that deal – no matter how bad the situation becomes – are his fault as well.

And people were fooled into voting Tory because they were told Jeremy Corbyn would make a mess of Brexit.

Feel free to remind your Tory friends of that – and remind them that it was voting Tory that made sure that Brexit turned into the diabolical fiasco that it has become.

Source: Brexit: UK government knew NI Protocol ‘was a bad deal’ – BBC News

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Lord Geidt clears his employer Boris Johnson of ministerial code breaches. He would, wouldn’t he?

We all know the Tories think we’re stupid; accept this nonsense at face value and they’ll know it’s true.

A Tory peer, Lord Geidt, has apparently carried out an internal party review of the way refurbishment of the 11 Downing Street flat (occupied by Boris Johnson) was funded and found that Johnson – who is his boss, let’s not forget – was innocent of any wrongdoing.

And nobody should believe a word of it.

Geidt said the Cabinet Office paid the costs and charged them to the Conservative Party, on the understanding that a trust was being set up to provide the funds.

This trust was never set up and the bulk of the cash came from Lord Brownlow, a Tory donor and former vice-chairman of Johnson’s Conservative Party from 2017 to July 2020 – as had been claimed in press reports.

With regards to the flat, [Geidt] said: “It is clear from the record that while a serious and genuine endeavour, the trust was not subjected to a scheme of rigorous project management by officials.

“Given the level of the prime minister’s expectations for the trust to deliver on the objects he had set, this was a significant failing.

“Instead, the prime minister – unwisely, in my view – allowed the refurbishment of the apartment at No 11 Downing Street to proceed without more rigorous regard for how this would be funded.”

In other words, Johnson claimed ignorance of the situation – but ignorance is no excuse.

Besides, he told us he had paid for the works himself, and that is plainly a lie.

He gets £30,000 a year as an allowance for such works – more than most of us earn in full-time work – and it still wasn’t enough. Reports suggest that the changes to the Downing Street flat cost around £200,000 in total.

Still, the Electoral Commission has launched its own investigation.

The commission said it was “satisfied that there are reasonable grounds to suspect than an offence or offences may have occurred”.

At the end of the day, it wouldn’t have matter what Geidt found, as power to decide whether a breach of the ministerial code has occurred rests with the prime minister – Johnson himself.

Knowing how corrupt he is, we know that he was never going to admit an offence that may require him to resign from his job.

We are left with several conclusions:

That Johnson is guilty as sin, that the government is utterly corrupt because he is leading it, and that Geidt and Brownlow have implicated themselves in that corruption by whitewashing their boss.

Source: Boris Johnson was ‘unwise’ to allow flat refurbishment ‘without more rigorous regard for how this would be funded’, report finds | Politics News | Sky News

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Now nurses are being told many would envy their job security – by a HEREDITARY PEER

This is the reason some fascist put the above – unacceptable – query to the BBC’s Question Time on Thursday (March 11), it seems:

Tory Lord Bethell said it was reasonable to saddle nurses with a below-inflation pay rise (a de facto pay cut) because they have “secure jobs” that many would “envy”.

If that’s true, then why are there 80,000 job vacancies in the NHS? Could it possibly be because they are subjected to a huge amount of stress – more than the vast majority of other jobs – and aren’t paid enough to be able to cover their bills and the weekly grocery shop?

I think it could.

Meanwhile, let’s look at Bethell himself.

He’s a hereditary peer – a member of the House of Lords who receives more than £300 per day, just to turn up. He could spend the whole day asleep and he would still receive that payment.

Because the 1999 House of Lords Act removed all but 92 hereditary peers, he did not have an automatic right to sit in the Lords but gained it in 2018 after a vacancy arose due to death, retirement, resignation or exclusion (I don’t care which).

He was chosen by a group of current Tory hereditary peers, from an official list of aristocrats, who are overwhelmingly men, and won the by-election with 26 votes from a total electorate of 47.

So much for democracy.

Bethell said:

“There are millions of people out of work out of the back of this pandemic.

“There are lots of people who have had an extremely tough time and who face a period of unemployment. Nurses are well-paid for the job. They have a secure job and they have other benefits.

“There are many people in this country who look upon professional jobs within the NHS with some envy and we shouldn’t forget the fact that some public sector jobs are, in fact, extremely well-paid.”

Perhaps he hasn’t noticed, but many of the employment problems have been caused, not by the pandemic itself so much as by his party’s cack-handed handling of it.

Of course it can’t be argued that some public sector jobs are indeed extremely well-paid – Bethell would know because he has one of them.

But nursing isn’t on that select list.

Oh, and here‘s another damning fact about Bethell: he tried to blame poor people for their own deaths from Covid-19, on the grounds that they died because of their own poor decisions.

He said there were “behavioural reasons” for these deaths, listing “the decisions that people make about social distancing, about their own health decisions” – all of which were influenced by his Tory government’s messages!

Source: Tory hereditary peer says nurses have job security that many would ‘envy’ – Mirror Online

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Ex-Supreme Court judge Lord Sumption tells Stage 4 cancer sufferer her life is ‘less valuable’

Lord Sumption: when he opened his mouth, he opened a can of worms.

Are you losing any faith you have in our legal system,s people like Lord Jonathan Sumption in it? I am.*

On a BBC debate show, The Big Questions, discussing the cost of lockdown, he argued that he believed his children’s and grandchildren’s lives were worth more than his ‘because they’ve got a lot more of it ahead’.

It created considerable controversy when podcaster Deborah James, who has Stage 4 metastatic bowel cancer, said – well, see for yourself:

Sumption tried to justify himself:

He said: ‘I object extremely strongly to any suggestion that I was inferring that Miss James’s life was less valuable because she had cancer.

‘I thought she was responding to my earlier comments about older people being protected by a total lockdown which is causing immense harm to the young who are unaffected.

‘That harm can be to their mental health or through cooping undergraduates up at university or through the loss of jobs.

‘I was saying this should not be inflicted on the young to protect old people like me.

‘If Miss James has misinterpreted that then I can only apologise to her as it was not my intention to suggest she was less valuable. Sometimes on videolinks it can be difficult to hear what the other person is saying.’

But he did say she was less valuable.

Is this the kind of judgement he made in the Supreme Court?

Were cases decided on whether a person was “more valuable” than another – to society, perhaps? On what would that have been based? Money? Societal position?

And what does that mean for justice? That those of us who are poor, or don’t have a role that Lord Sumption considers “valuable” could not rely on a fair judgement in our court cases?

Don’t ask me for an answer because I honestly don’t know.

Members of the public have formed their own opinions (apologies for the fact that so many of them are attached to the same video):

Yes. And did he make similar decisions, on the basis of his own view of worth, while he was a judge?

If so, bang goes British justice.

Source: Lord Sumption tells Stage 4 cancer sufferer her life is ‘less valuable’ than others | Daily Mail Online

*And it’s a huge concern for me, because I am involved in court proceedings at the time of writing.

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Government buys 100 million doses of vaccine by firm that ‘procurement tsar’ part-owns

Interesting display of priorities by the Conservative government here.

It has bought 100 million doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine, enough to vaccinate 50 million people, having approved its supply with the first doses to be given on Monday.

This compares with just 40 million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine that was approved in early December – enough for 20 million people, with doses already supplied to nearly 700,000.

Is it a coincidence that – as revealed by the New York Times – Lord Deighton, the Tory procurement tsar whose attempts to get personal protective equipment went so badly wrong, is a shareholder in AstraZeneca?

The Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine has been approved for use in the UK, with the first doses due to be given on Monday amid rising coronavirus cases.

The UK has ordered 100 million doses – enough to vaccinate 50 million people.

This will cover the entire population, when combined with the full order of the Pfizer-BioNTech jab, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said.

Meanwhile, the number of new Covid-19 cases has soared again, to 53,135 on December 29. This is due to the Tories’ failure to make any real effort to control the spread of the virus.

Even in the current lockdown, schools will reopen when term begins in January – and schools are now recognised as the principle vector for the spread of the disease.

It’s almost as though someone had created an urgent need for a vaccine, in order to supply that demand.

I know.

It’s just paranoia. And I shouldn’t mind that somebody is getting very rich indeed from the suffering of millions of people.

Source: Covid-19: Oxford-AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine approved for use in UK – BBC News

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Is it too early to demand an investigation into the naked Covid-19 cronyism that has cost so much cash – and so many thousands of lives?

Two-fingered salute: this will be the likely response if we ask Boris Johnson politely for an inquiry into his procurement methods for Covid-19-related equipment and services.

Listen to the following video from our old friend Jeremy Corbyn:

He’s right about the cronyism. The New York Times – a US newspaper and one from a country that supports private enterprise over socialism – recently ran an article examining the phenomenon.

Its findings were an indictment against Boris Johnson and his ragtag gaggle of freeloaders, for whom the phrase, “We’re all in it together,” actually means, “Everyone for themselves!”

Under the heading Waste, negligence and cronyism: inside Britain’s pandemic spending, the paper stated: “In the desperate scramble for protective gear and other equipment, politically connected companies reaped billions.”

It began: “When the pandemic exploded in March, British officials embarked on a desperate scramble to procure the personal protective equipment, ventilators, coronavirus tests and other supplies critical to containing the surge.

“In the months following those fevered days, the government handed out thousands of contracts to fight the virus, some of them in a secretive “V.I.P. lane” to a select few companies with connections to the governing Conservative Party.”

The paper said it analyzed the roughly 1,200 central government contracts that have been made public, together worth nearly $22 billion (£16.28 billion):

About $11 billion [£8.14 billion] went to companies either run by friends and associates of politicians in the Conservative Party, or with no prior experience or a history of controversy.

Meanwhile, smaller firms without political clout got nowhere.

It said the procurement system was cobbled together during a meeting of anxious bureaucrats in late March, and a wealthy former investment banker and Conservative Party grandee, Paul Deighton, who sits in the House of Lords, was later tapped to act as the government’s czar for personal protective equipment.

Eight months on, Lord Deighton has helped the government award billions of dollars in contracts –– including hundreds of millions to several companies where he has financial interests or personal connections.

It looks like we should start making a list of names in advance of a future corruption inquiry, and this Lord Deighton should be at the top of it!*

That’s if we ever get all the information…

Citing the urgency of the pandemic, the government cast aside the usual transparency rules and awarded contracts worth billions of dollars without competitive bidding. To date, just over half of all of the contracts awarded in the first seven months remain concealed from the public

The paper mentions some of the firms with Tory connections that received funding:

Uniserve Group: Awarded $1 billion in PPE contracts, the company is among the biggest winners. Its founder is an adviser to a pro-Brexit think tank panel chaired by two prominent government ministers.**

Randox Laboratories: Awarded $646 million in testing contracts. Owen Paterson, a government minister [and another name for our list], is a paid consultant for the firm.**

Deloitte: Awarded a contract to consult on PPE procurement retrospectively and without competition. The company has made non-cash donations to the Conservative Party and others.**

Around $6 billion went to companies that had no prior experience in supplying medical personal protective equipment. Fashion designers, pest controllers and jewelers won lucrative contracts.

PPE Medpro: This company won its first contract barely three weeks after it was set up. It went on to win nearly $274 million in PPE contracts.**

Ocean Footprint: The marine equipment supplier was awarded a $7 million contract without having any prior experience in supplying medical PPE.**

PestFix: The pest control supply firm won more than $470 million in PPE contracts. It supplied 600,000 face masks that could not be used for their original purpose.**

More than $5 billion was awarded to companies with histories of controversy, from tax evasion and fraud to corruption and human rights abuses.

KPMG: Its UK arm recently faced a negligence lawsuit over alleged accounting failures linked to the collapse of outsourcing giant Carillion.**

Serco: Awarded $285 million for testing and contact tracing. The company admitted… defrauding the government and paid a $30 million fine in 2013.**

Honeywell: Embroiled in two global bribery probes. The UK PPE czar is a shareholder.**

All of the companies named by the NYT have denied wrongdoing, and there is no evidence to suggest that government officials were engaged in illegal conduct.

But there is ample evidence of cronyism, waste and poor due diligence. Some of it has been documented by the British media, but the scale of the problem is wider than previously known.

Officials ignored or missed many red flags. Dozens of companies that won a total of $3.6 billion in contracts had poor credit, and several had declared assets of just $2 or $3 each. Others had histories of fraud, human rights abuses, tax evasion or other serious controversies. A few were set up on the spur of the moment or had no relevant experience — and still won contracts.

The paper contacted the Department of Health and Social Care, which led the Tory government’s pandemic procurement. In denial of all the evidence, a spokesperson said that “proper due diligence” was carried out for all contracts.

How can it have been?

Did this person mean that they ran all the necessary checks, saw the information that showed the firms were not suitable to receive these huge contracts (and this huge responsibility), and handed over the cash anyway?

If so, then the government was negligent. Considering the system as described here, this seems likely:

Junior staffers reviewed thousands of proposals and passed on a chosen few to their bosses, who often had only a day to sign off on contracts, according to a government official involved in the process. Some businesses said they were left waiting months as their proposals went unanswered. Others said it was difficult to keep up with what the government wanted, with safety specifications sometimes changing after deliveries had already been made.

Normally, companies would bid on individual contracts with requirements published in advance. But given the government’s frenzied need for supplies, most companies simply submitted broad proposals through a government website. Government officials then decided yes or no, or in some cases approached companies themselves.

The race to procure PPE – Personal Protective Equipment – is a very clear example (and a sore point for the government).

The necessity to have such equipment easily available in readiness for the arrival of a pandemic infection like Covid-19 was highlighted by Exercise Cygnus in 2016 – the Tory government’s own simulation of the effect of a pandemic on the UK which predicted that the NHS would collapse due to lack of resources – and by top medical journal The Lancet, which published a direct warning to Boris Johnson that he needed to secure “supply chains of pharmaceuticals, personal protective equipment, hospital supplies and the necessary human resources” on January 24.

Johnson ignored the warnings. In fact,

Ministers could have avoided the panicked spending spree, critics said, had they not ignored their own pandemic preparedness plan and sold off stocks of P.P.E. from rainy-day reserves in the first three months of the year.

So the government’s claim that

the huge global demand for P.P.E. had created “a highly competitive market” and that it used “the quickest and most accessible routes” to buy protective gear

appears to be nonsense.

Having given way his own supply of PPE, Johnson then had to scrabble to buy some back. You can bet he had to spend more doing this than he raised from the sale, too – those are the laws of supply and demand and as a Tory, he should have known such things. But his people’s behaviour was actually worse:

In choosing speed over due diligence, however, ministers squandered millions on “unsuitable” items, including some that did not meet safety standards, according to the National Audit Office.

The government said that only a tiny portion of the supplies, 0.5 percent, had been found unfit for their intended uses.

Yes, but then the government said it followed due diligence in awarding contracts to unsuitable firms as well, so its people are hardly to be trusted.

The VIP lane

As if the above information wasn’t bad enough, Matt Hancock (another name for our list) secretly authorised a so-called “VIP lane” for favoured companies to win procurement contracts, in April.

These firms

proved to be 10 times more likely to win contracts than those outside that group, according to the National Audit Office.

The government did not carry out systematic company checks, including for potential conflicts of interest, until it had already spent nearly $2 billion, auditors found. Officials did not always document who recommended a company or why it was awarded a contract.

This site has already documented the story of Ayanda Capital. Awarded $340 million (£251.6 million) to supply personal protective equipment, it eventually delivered 50 million masks worth more than $200 million (£148 million) that could not be used for their original purpose, because the ear loop fastenings did not match the government’s new requirements.

One of the firm’s senior board advisers was Andrew Mills (another name for our list) who also worked on the government’s Board of Trade, meaning there was a clear conflict of interest even though we don’t know what part he played in the awarding of the contract, if any.

Ayanda has said the masks met all the government’s requirements when the order was placed and – considering the evidence that requirements were likely to change after contracts were signed – it is entirely possible that this is true. It is the fault of Boris Johnson and his government that this process failed. They chose to employ firms that were unable to provide the equipment that was needed.

Meanwhile,

many companies and business people, often better qualified to produce P.P.E. but lacking political connections, had no access to the V.I.P. lane. Multibrands International, a British manufacturer that had been producing P.P.E. for China since December, was among them. Its owner, Rizwana Hussain, spent months trying to reach government officials through public channels.

Ms. Hussain had offered to supply the government starting in March, her emails show. She was still at it in early May when news broke that 400,000 protective gowns that the government ordered from Turkey had proved to be unusable. “I was so upset thinking, ‘Why are we listening to these disastrous happenings when we’re here and are offering our help?’” Ms. Hussain said.

She said that although her company could produce large quantities of P.P.E. at its factories in China and India, she never heard back from the government.

Government officials said the high-priority lane was set up to efficiently prioritize credible offers of PPE for the National Health Service, and that all proposals, whatever channel they went through, were assessed by the same standards. Does anybody really believe that?

But they have not released the names of the nearly 500 companies that made the V.I.P. list., fuelling questions of cronyism.

It seems clear there is enough evidence here – or lack of it, in many instances – to justify an inquiry. This Writer, being a lay person, is unsure what form such an investigation should take. Judicial review? Public inquiry? Perhaps somebody with more specialised knowledge could let us know.

We already know that Johnson will try to brush this scandal under the carpet (his carpets must be bulging with the amount of mess he has hidden beneath them).

It is our responsibility to ensure that he doesn’t get away with it.

*The New York Times had quite a lot to say about Lord Deighton:

Two of the contracts linked to Lord Deighton were P.P.E.-related. One, for $78 million, was awarded to Honeywell Safety Products, a subsidiary of Honeywell International, a company he holds shares in.

Lord Deighton is also a shareholder of AstraZeneca, the British pharmaceutical company that is developing a vaccine with Oxford University, and was awarded $205 million for test services.

He also holds shares in the consulting firm Accenture, which was awarded a $5.6 million contract to help develop England’s ill-fated contact tracing app and detect fraud in procurement. Another company he has a stake in, UBS, won $770,000.

Neither Lord Deighton nor the companies would divulge the size of his share holdings.

A $406,000 contract was awarded to a consulting firm, Chanzo, to help set up and run the P.P.E. procurement system, including providing a chief of staff for Lord Deighton.

Chanzo’s founder and chief executive, Jean Tomlin, is a long-time business associate of Lord Deighton, and worked with him on the Olympic committee. Ms. Tomlin is also a fellow director at Hakluyt, a corporate intelligence firm founded by former British intelligence officers, which Lord Deighton chairs.

Lady Alison Deighton, his wife, is a former director of N.M. Rothschild, which won a $770,000 contract for consulting services. Another consulting contract of the same value went to Moelis & Company, an investment bank where one senior adviser and Labour peer, Lord Charles Allen, was also on the Olympic committee board with Lord Deighton.

** The article also provides the following information on the companies it names:

PestFix said it had repurposed its business during the pandemic to supply medical P.P.E. and said the government changed its specifications after it had supplied the face masks. PPE Medpro said that it was awarded contracts based on the considerable experience and expertise of its staff. Uniserve Group said that its director had no connections to the Conservative government. Deloitte said that its U.K. arm does not give cash contributions to political parties. Ocean Footprint said it had previously sold masks to the boat-building industry. Serco said that it “took significant steps to reform itself” after the 2013 fraud scandal. Randox Laboratories did not respond to questions and Owen Paterson declined to comment. All other companies mentioned in the article either declined to comment or did not respond to questions.

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.

https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/mike-sivier-libel-fight/


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If you have appreciated this article, don’t forget to share it using the buttons at the bottom of this page. Politics is about everybody – so let’s try to get everybody involved!

Buy Vox Political books so we can continue
fighting for the facts.


The Livingstone Presumption is now available
in either print or eBook format here:

HWG PrintHWG eBook

Health Warning: Government! is now available
in either print or eBook format here:

HWG PrintHWG eBook

The first collection, Strong Words and Hard Times,
is still available in either print or eBook format here:

SWAHTprint SWAHTeBook