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Good Law Project can now reveal that Michael Gove, and Cabinet Office Minister Lord Agnew, referred six firms down a fast track ‘VIP’ route to bid for lucrative Test and Trace contracts. This is the first time the names of the Ministers who referred testing firms for VIP treatment have been made public.
When we first revealed evidence of a VIP lane for politically connected suppliers to win multi-million pound testing contracts, Government claimed that what we were saying was “completely false”.
Now, after a lengthy battle with the Cabinet Office, it has admitted that senior ministers Michael Gove and Lord Agnew frequently made use of a ‘fast track’ lane.
In its FOI response, it confirms: “a total of 6 offers of help were received to the VIP email address: firstname.lastname@example.org from the Private Office of Michael Gove and the Private Office of Lord Agnew”.
Remarkably, the Cabinet Office is still refusing to publish the names of the firms that benefitted from the red carpet rolled out by ministers, saying the “public interest favours withholding this information”.
We don’t agree. Why should businesses who have the ear of a minister jump to the front of the queue, when other companies often had more experience? And why is it in the public interest to hide how the public’s money has been spent?
We will stop at nothing to unearth the names of the ‘VIPs’ who benefitted from a red carpet route to the Government’s eye-watering £37bn Test and Trace programme.
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