Government ‘PPE VIP lane’ deemed ‘unlawful’ by High Court

Government ‘PPE VIP lane’ deemed ‘unlawful’ by High Court

A High Court have ruled that the Government acted unlawfully by using a so-called ‘VIP lane’ to award PPE contracts during the Covid pandemic.

The court also ruled that the majority of products supplied by Pestfix and Ayanda Capital were unsuitable to be used by NHS staff during the first wave of the pandemic.

This challenge was brought forward by campaign groups the Good Law Project and EveryDoctor, who argued that the bid process gave an unlawful advantage to those with political ties.

They took legal action over more than £340 million in contracts awarded to Pestfix in 2020 and a contract worth around £252 million to Ayanda Capital.

The campaigners argued that these firms were prioritised “because of who they knew, not what they could deliver.”

In the ruling, judge Mrs Justice O’Farrell found that the ‘VIP lane’ system was “in breach of the obligation of equal treatment”, adding: “The illegality is marked by this judgment.”

It was also found that offers introduced “senior referrers” such as ministers and high-ranking officials received “earlier consideration” than others.

Former Health Secretary Matt Hancock was criticised for the PPE contract process and Labour’s Jess Phillips asked him “Did anybody else’s mates get contracts?” on ITV’s Peston.

The judgement puts even more pressure on Boris Johnson, who has faced calls to resign from the opposition over an alleged party in his garden in May 2020.

It is reported that over 100 Downing Street staff were invited to the alleged party in the PM’s garden and were told to “bring your own booze”.

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