This tweet has aged badly – and at the time of writing it’s not 24 hours since it was written:
Huge thanks to Kate Bingham and the Vaccine Taskforce for all their fantastic work in securing 40 million doses of the @pfizer & @BioNTech_Group vaccine and over 300 million doses of other promising vaccine candidates.
— Boris Johnson (@BorisJohnson) November 10, 2020
He was referring to Kate Bingham. If you haven’t heard of her, it’s not surprising. She’s another unqualified crony of Boris Johnson and his Tories, given a role as head of Johnson’s “vaccines taskforce” because she knows him (she is married to a Tory minister, Jesse Norman).
She knew nothing about vaccines when she was appointed; she’s a venture capitalist. And now she has announced she is retiring at the end of the year.
Her announcement came after some embarrassing revelations became public:
So, Kate Bingham, the unqualified ‘vaccine tsar’, venture capitalist, married to a Tory minister, blows £670,000 on PR consultants and failed to publicly declare that she manages private investments in 2 firms involved in the race to develop coronavirus drugs.
— Rachael Swindon (@Rachael_Swindon) November 8, 2020
Worse was to come:
Not a moment too soon.
Vaccines tsar 'to step down' from her post after 'dodgy cronyism' claims https://t.co/2PSq6LcX2W
— Rachael Swindon (@Rachael_Swindon) November 9, 2020
The Mirror story claims that in addition to spaffing £670,000 on a public relations firm, Bingham showed US financiers private government documents at a $200-a-head conference.
Oh, and that £670K PR firm? Linked to Dominic Cummings’s father-in-law, apparently:
— Parody Boris Johnson (@BorisJohnson_MP) November 10, 2020
The stink of corrupt cronyism is ripe here.
But Death Secretary Matt Hancock insisted to the Mirror that Bingham’s retirement is nothing to do with the revelations. It was always a six-month job, set to end at the year, he said.
So why announce it? And why make the announcement right after these embarrassing revelations?
Could it be that Johnson, Hancock, the Tory government and its remaining cronies were hoping to avoid further examination of their decisions in appointing unqualified friends to vital Covid-19 related jobs, rather than people who knew what they were doing?
If so, it seems they were set to be disappointed…
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