Siobhan Baillie, MP for Stroud, stated emphatically in a letter to Ecotricity founder Dale Vince in March 2021 that she had “never helped anyone receive or apply for any government contract for any product or service”. In the same letter, she went on to say “that means no phone calls, no VIP scheme, no advice, no emails, no introductions…at any time”.
But documents obtained by Good Law Project completely contradict Baillie’s claims.
Emails released via a Freedom of Information request confirm that Siobhan Baillie referred at least three prospective PPE offers to the Cabinet Office between March and June 2020 – with one firm bluntly requesting “VIP” access.
On 5 May 2020, a business in Siobhan Baillie’s constituency approached her with an offer to sell reusable face masks and gowns. The firm, which claims to be an ‘event business’, had one specific request for Baillie – access to the “VIP unit in central government”.
The email said: “We have been in discussion with government departments who are very supportive of the project. They mentioned to us that we should contact our local MP and see if they would be willing to mention their local business to the VIP unit in central Government”.
Nine days later on 14 May 2020, Siobhan Baillie’s office obliged and referred the offer to Ministers in the Cabinet Office – requesting a response “as quickly as possible”.
The Stroud MP also referred two other requests onto Cabinet Office Ministers in April 2020. The names of the companies involved have been redacted so we are unable to confirm who they are or if they landed any lucrative PPE deals.
We do know that one Stroud based business, P14 Medical, run by ex-Tory councillor Steve Dechan, was awarded £276m in PPE contracts after it was channelled down the ‘VIP’ lane. Dechan became a Conservative Party donor shortly after landing these lucrative contracts.
P14 Medical were hit by further controversy when it was discovered the 120m face shields provided in a £120m deal with the DHSC struggled to gain HSE approval. The quality was so doubtful that fewer than 1 in 400 have been used as of June 2021, meaning each face shield has so far cost the staggering equivalent of £423.
The deeper we dig, the more we uncover. We will continue to expose the PPE procurement scandal.
*Update – 9th November 2021
Since this blog was published at 11.01 on 8 November 2021 Siobhan Baillie MP has issued this following statement in response.
We are publishing the relevant FOI responses in full. We stand by every word in the blog.
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