Special channels set up for "Cabinet contacts" to win lucrative PPE deals, Jolyon Maugham reveals

30 October 2020, 15:09

By Fiona Jones

Leaked documents show the existence of special pathways enabling "Cabinet Office" and "VIP" contacts to be awarded lucrative PPE contracts - which is a "really startling breach of governance", barrister Jolyon Maugham tells James O'Brien.

Mr Maugham's organisation The Good Law Project saw the leaked documents which detailed that special procurement channels were set up to enable "VIPs" to win enormous PPE contracts - despite some companies being dormant or completely new.

The Good Law Project lists examples, including company PPE MedPro which won two contracts worth over £200m to supply PPE to the NHS - the £100 company was set up by the former business associate of Conservative peer Baroness Mone and won this hefty deal just seven weeks after its formation.

The organisation also found a "startling opportunity for price gouging" for these favoured suppliers - with a maximum of 25% markup on PPE items allowed without question.

Mr Maugham told James, "These contracts are worth hundreds and hundreds of millions of pounds, so really startling breaches in governance, and we know enormous profits are being made."

He continued that "the most extraordinary thing" about the leaks is "the Government has not denied one single allegation that was put in the blog post yesterday.

"They don't take any issue with the notion of the 25% premium, they don't take any issue with the notion of the special VIP channel to friends, they don't take any issue with the notion that the...Cabinet Office was introducing contacts to the channel and then guiding them through it."

Not only may the Government have broken procurement legislation, there are also general public law obligations to act without bias and not favour friends, Mr Maugham told LBC.

Jolyon Maugham said to James that the fundamental issue is the Government "haven't done a good thing with public money."