MPs go to court over Covid contracts worth £3billion

Three MPs launch legal action against the Government after officials allegedly failed to account for £3BILLION in private contracts during coronavirus pandemic

  • Caroline Lucas, Debbie Abrahams and Layla Morgan launched a judicial review 
  • The case was launched over Government failure to disclose details of spending
  • The Government has 21 days to respond to the judicial review proceedings 

Legal action is being taken against the Government after data showed it failed to account for £3billion spent on private contracts since the start of lockdown.

Three MPs are launching a judicial review case over the failure to disclose details of pandemic-related spending, alongside the Good Law Project, a non-profit organisation. 

Green MP Caroline Lucas, Labour’s Debbie Abrahams and Liberal Democrat MP Layla Moran argue that there are mounting concerns over the Government’s coronavirus procurement processes.

The Department of Health said due diligence was carried out on all Government contracts awarded.

The Government has 21 days to respond to the judicial review proceedings. 

Green MP Caroline Lucas (pictured and two other MPs are launching a judicial review case over Government failure to disclose details of coronavirus pandemic-related spending, alongside the Good Law Project, a non-profit organisation

Jolyon Maugham QC, director of Good Law Project said: ‘What we know about the Government’s procurement practices during this pandemic gives real cause for concern.

‘Huge sums of public money have been awarded to companies with no discernible expertise.

‘Sometimes the main qualification seems to be a political connection with key Government figures.

‘And I have seen evidence that Government is sometimes paying more to buy the same product from those with political connections.

‘We don’t know what else there is to discover because the Government is deliberately keeping the public in the dark.

‘We are left with no option but to push for transparency through the courts.’

Labour¿s Debbie Abrahams

Liberal Democrat MP Layla Moran

Mrs Lucas, Labour’s Debbie Abrahams (left) and Liberal Democrat MP Layla Moran (right) argue that there are mounting concerns over the Government’s coronavirus procurement processes

Ms Lucas added: ‘When billions of pounds of public money is handed out to private companies, some of them with political connections but no experience in delivering medical supplies, ministers should be explaining why those companies were awarded the contracts.

‘It’s completely unacceptable that, as an MP, I’m prevented from being able to scrutinise those decisions.’

Ms Abrahams said: ‘Transparency is crucial for effective scrutiny and will only improve our response to this crisis.

‘The persistent failure to publish the details of Covid contracts leads you to wonder what this Government has got to hide.’

Ms Moran added: ‘It is totally unacceptable for the Government to avoid scrutiny during a public health crisis.

‘As we enter a predicted second wave we need to be able to take stock of what has worked and what hasn’t to protect as many lives as possible.

‘Government must let Parliament do its job and properly scrutinise their decisions.’

The legal challenge is being crowdfunded with the support of 38 Degrees and Good Law Project and the three MPs have instructed Deighton Pierce Glynn and Jason Coppel QC and Christopher Knight of 11KBW to act in the judicial review proceedings

Campaigns director of 38 Degrees, Ellie Gellard said: ‘The public needs to know where taxpayers’ money has been spent in our ongoing battle against coronavirus so that we can be sure those who have been paid, deliver what they promised.

‘That’s why thousands of members of the public have chipped in to help get the answers we deserve, transparency is needed to restore public trust in the Government’s approach.’

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