Abingdon Health: A cover-up

In April, Government announced that they supported the creation of the UK Rapid Test Consortium (UK-RTC). The idea was that the companies and institutions involved would create a rapid antibody test. On 2nd June, Government awarded a contract worth £10 million to Abingdon Health for the materials needed to produce the test. On 14th August, they handed Abingdon Health another contract worth a staggering £75 million.

Despite these huge sums of money, Government seems to have ignored widely held concerns that tests were not fit for purpose. So a £75million contract was awarded without competition, on the basis of profoundly flawed research. And when confronted with evidence of these flaws Government tried to suppress publication of that evidence.

These are serious charges and we have set out the publicly available evidence in this chronology, which we will update as more evidence is published.

To protect public money and to seek to encourage Government towards honesty, we have issued judicial review proceedings in respect of the Abingdon Health contract awards. Our case rests on the following grounds:
1. Government’s apparent failure to conduct any lawful or sufficient inquiry or evaluation of the accuracy of the rapid antibody tests.
2. The award of these contracts seemingly without any advertisement or competition between bidders.

Good Law Project has instructed Joseph Barrett of 11KBW Chambers and Rook Irwin Sweeney. They will work considerably below market rates.

The legal challenge is being crowdfunded. If you're in a position to do so, you can make a donation here.

Previous Updates

Government’s shambolic Covid testing programme described as ‘unlegit’ and ‘no way to do business’ in explosive emails revealed at the High Court today

Civil servants described the Government’s shambolic testing programme as “unlegit” and “no way to do business”, in new internal emails we can publish today. 
The emails were uncovered in the course of our legal action…

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We’re in Court tomorrow

Tomorrow our challenge over the Government’s shambolic award of lucrative public health contracts to Abingdon Health reaches the High Court for a three-day hearing. 
Like so many of the contracts we’ve uncovered, these were awarded secretly,…

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An apology from Jo

We want to be an organisation that puts its hands up promptly and fulsomely when we get stuff wrong. “Live your values” is what I say in my Twitter bio – and it’s right that…

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They’re refusing to pay their costs

Professor Sir John Bell’s role in the awarding of lucrative contracts without competition to Abingdon Health was significant. He carried out that role, involving the expenditure of large sums of public money, using only his…

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A very serious allegation

Good Law Project has received a letter from a firm of lawyers called Bristows LLP, who act for Abingdon Health.
The letter makes a very serious allegation: it says we have made “public statements that [we]…

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BREAKING: Government misled public over existence of VIP lane for testing contracts

When we last shared evidence of a VIP lane for testing contracts, Government told the world our claims were ‘completely false’. 
Today we can reveal astonishing new emails between civil servants that prove there was a…

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Lord Bethell and Matt Hancock to hand over private messages

For months, Government has been refusing to hand over evidence in our challenge concerning Abingdon Health, the testing company awarded £85 million worth of contracts without competition. Yesterday we took Government to Court to fight…

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NEW: The ever growing mystery of Lord Bethell’s ‘missing’ phone

You will recall in our hearing in July Government admitted that some of Health Minister Lord Bethell’s dealings in relation to the controversial £85 million testing contracts to Abingdon Health had been conducted via WhatsApp…

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Lord Bethell’s new phone

Lord Bethell is the Health Minister responsible for overseeing the award of Covid contracts. His time as Health Minister has been mired in controversy: from failing to declare meetings with firms that won huge Government…

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REVEALED: Health Minister Lord Bethell failed to declare meeting with firm that subsequently won £85m Covid contract

According to explosive emails published by The Sunday Times, Health Minister Lord Bethell held a ‘private meeting’ with controversial Covid testing firm Abingdon Health on 1 April 2020 without disclosing this meeting in its transparency…

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Abingdon Health: We’re going to court

Last week, the High Court granted permission to advance our case against Government for its award of contracts to Abingdon Health for rapid antibody tests. The deal with Abingdon Health has been marred by controversy…

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Another extraordinary revelation in our Abingdon case

Last week we revealed Government had cancelled all orders with Abingdon Health for antibody lateral flow tests because it had failed to gain approval from the MHRA for home use of those tests. 
Today, an explosive…

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Another remarkable update on this case

On 21st January, Government wrote to our lawyers to say that they had cancelled, with immediate effect, all outstanding orders placed with Abingdon Health for antibody lateral flow tests, because they had failed to gain…

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Are they trying to rewrite history?

So much, so very much, is wrong with the Government’s decision to contract with Abingdon Health.
As we understand matters, Government gave, without competition, substantial public contracts to develop Covid-19 antibody tests to a company which…

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