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Victoria Aitken claimed “I had it fast-tracked” and demanded commission on “all the contracts that came via [her] connections”. But the Government’s published record of the VIP lane doesn’t mention Victoria Aitken at all.
Victoria Aitken, daughter of the disgraced former Tory Cabinet Minister, Jonathan Aitken, threatened to sue a successful VIP PPE bidder for commission after she had referred it into the VIP lane. The exchange came after the Private Secretary of former health minister, Lord Agnew, wrote to Ms Aitken promising to “get our priority team to pick it up and expedite the offer to assure it, etc.”
In a private LinkedIn exchange with the Managing Director of Euthenia Investments, Victoria Aitken claimed that it was her introduction to Lord Agnew – former Cabinet Office Minister, Trustee of Policy Exchange and Conservative Peer, that secured the PPE contract for Euthenia.
She went on to claim “I had it fast-tracked” and demanded commission on “all the contracts that came via my connections”. She added “My lawyer will write to you and start litigation / If you do not settle.” Lawyers acting for Ms Aitken subsequently wrote to Euthenia.
The Government’s published record of of the VIP lane names Lord Agnew as the “Source of Referral” and “Actual Referrer” for Euthenia Investments. No mention is made of Victoria Aitken.
Agnew is also named as the “Actual Referrer” for PPE Medpro. The Guardian previously reported that Michelle Mone was “incandescent with rage” and complaining to Michael Gove and Matt Hancock after being “fobbed off”. Lord Agnew is also named as the “Source of Referral” and “Actual Referrer” for Worldlink Resources who, as Good Law Project has previously reported, engaged disgraced former MP, Brooks Newmark, to lobby Matt Hancock, Michael Gove and Liz Truss on their behalf.
The exchanges raise questions as to how Ms Aitken came to know of the existence of the VIP lane, and why she referred contacts to Lord Agnew. Lawyers acting for Ms Aitken say:
“It was agreed… that our client would find the relevant individuals within the UK government and ascertain what processes would need to be used in order for Euthenia Investments Limited to be properly registered as a supplier of PPE to the UK government. Our client made some enquiries in this regard and eventually made connection with Lord Agnew‘s office.”
Good Law Project has been told by a Cabinet Office source that Lord Agnew was charged with handling VIP requests from Conservative Party insiders. The facts suggest that he was at the centre of a process enabling the Conservative Party ‘family’ to use the VIP lane to monetise their political connections without exposure. Neither Brooks Newmark, Michelle Mone nor Victoria Aitken were named as referrers to the VIP lane.
Lord Agnew also used his private email address – at burnleyhall.com – to conduct PPE business, despite being urged not to by a senior civil servant. We put that to the senior civil servant, who did not deny it. One email seen by Good Law Project records Lord Agnew, writing from his Burnley Hall email address to a prospective supplier of Covid tests, saying: “I have been passed a copy of your letter of 23 March to the Prime Minister which has been referred to me as a minister in the Cabinet Office” and offering to speak to the supplier later.
The exchange between Lord Agnew’s office and Victoria Aitken took place in May 2020. Euthenia won an £880,000 contract through the VIP lane to supply coveralls bearing the date of April 2020. It is not clear that it was Ms Aitken’s introduction that led to Euthenia’s contract win.
We have approached Victoria Aitken and the Cabinet Office for comment.
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