Angela Rayner said reports that a Tory peer had received £29m from a firm that had won a government PPE contract showed a “total failure of due diligence” and “a conflict of interest at the heart of public procurement”.
Guardian Today, Tory peer Michel Mone and his family revealed they received £29m in profits from a PPE company awarded government contracts after recommending them to ministers.
According to the newspaper, Monet’s support helped PPE Medpro get a place in the “VIP lane” used by the government for procurement during the pandemic. The company was subsequently awarded contracts worth over £200m.
Addressing the Commons during an urgent question on PPE procurement, Labour’s deputy leader said the revelations about Mone demonstrated “a complete failure of due diligence and a conflict of interest at the heart of public procurement”.
He told MPs: “Today’s reports are just one case in point, but this government has already removed £10bn of PPE deemed unfit, unusable, overpriced or undelivered.
“The worst thing is that the ministers have not learned any lessons and are not ashamed. As families struggle to make ends meet, taxpayers will spend £700,000 a day maintaining inadequate PPE.
Neil O’Brien, responding on behalf of the government, said the procurement, production and distribution of PPE was a “uniquely complex challenge” under normal circumstances, adding: “At a time when global demand has never been higher, efforts to do so during a pandemic are truly It was extraordinary.”
The Minister of Health emphasized that the priority at the beginning of the pandemic is to deliver PPE to the frontline “as soon as possible”. He acknowledged that “there are always lessons we can learn from any crisis,” but added: “We must not lose sight of the great national efforts being made to protect the most vulnerable.”
He looked at the documents Guardian Despite his lawyer claiming last year that Mone “did not benefit financially and had no connection with PPE Medpro”, it suggests that millions of pounds of PPE Medpro’s profits were transferred to an offshore account that benefited Mone and his children.
Mone is being investigated by a House of Lords commissioner for standards over alleged links between him and the company, following a complaint by fellow Labor colleague George Foulkes in January. His Isle of Wight home was raided in April as part of the National Crime Agency’s investigation into PPE Medpro.
O’Brien told MPs the company had an “underperforming” PPE contract and that the government’s first step in responding to such companies was to send a pre-action letter, followed by legal action if there was a “satisfactory settlement”. has not arrived.
The health minister added that in the case of PPE Medpro, the government “has not reached a point where a satisfactory agreement has been reached at this stage”.
The Supreme Court ruled in January that the VIP lanes created for public procurement are illegal. The judge said the operation of a “high priority lane” that speeds up the process for some providers “breaches the duty of equal treatment”.
The court found that bids were allocated to the VIP lane “on a flawed basis” and that “there is evidence that even in the absence of objectively justifiable grounds for expediting the bid, such opportunities were treated as a high priority.”
A public accounts committee report published in June found that 75% of the £12 billion the Department of Health and Social Care spent on PPE in the first year of the pandemic was lost to substandard prices and equipment.
The committee said £4bn of the £9bn wasted was spent on buying PPE which the NHS will not use and must now throw away, and the government told the committee it was “planning to incinerate a significant amount” of unused equipment.
Do you value our free and unique service?
LabourList has more readers than ever – but we need your support. Our extensive coverage of Labour’s policies and personalities, internal debates, elections and elections is based on donations from our readers.
Support the Labor List