“I think in comparison to Britain 10 years ago, there’s a level of corruption that we haven’t reached before,” said Emily Barritt, a lecturer in law at King’s College London.
The latest revelation came in late June when Health Secretary Matt Hancock resigned after it emerged he was having an affair with a university friend he had appointed as an aide, Gina Colodangelo. Hancock was already facing questions over a series of virus-related contracts. One was a £30-million ($41-million) contract to produce vials for Covid-19 testing that was awarded without competition to a company run by his former neighbour — someone who had no background in making medical goods.
The conservative Daily Telegraph has reported that another £28-million contract was awarded to a healthcare company where Colodangelo’s brother is strategy director. And in June, the High Court ruled against another senior Conservative minister, Michael Gove.
Gove had unlawfully awarded a £560,000 contract for virus-related communications to market research firm Public First, having failed to go through proper procedures. The company’s founders are friends of Dominic Cummings, who until recently served as Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s top adviser. The opposition Labour party is calling for an independent probe into the government’s handling of the pandemic. Its Shadow Secretary of State for Scotland Ian Murray told the BBC: “The huge part of the story is all the issues that remain unresolved with regards to cronyism.”
Rules on awarding public contracts were already very flexible, said Daniel Fisher, a postgraduate researcher at City University of London.
– INDIA TODAY