A high court judge has found that Health Secretary Matt Hancock acted unlawfully by failing to reveal details of contracts his department has signed during the course of the pandemic.
Public contract details, once signed, should be published within 30 days. The judge said that Mr Hancock had “breached his legal obligation” to government transparency.
The Good Law Project, a crowdfunded not-for-profit organisation, brought the case to trial and are making a series of legal challenges related to the way in which the government has obtained protective personal equipment (PPE) and other supplies during the pandemic.
It comes as no surprise to many that Hancock and his department have been found guilty. Allegations of cronyism within the government have existed for months, with an investigation from Byline Times finding just ten days ago that a friend of Matt Hancock’s was awarded a PPE supply contract worth £14.4 million. The firm itself has no website of its own, and the director’s husband had donated £5,000 to Hancock’s office in June 2019.
Another firm with links to the Health Secretary’s family was awarded a £5.5 million COVID-19 mobile testing deal, and in January it was found that £2.5 million of taxpayer’s money was given to a firm that donated over £240,000 to the Conservative Party.
In response to the ruling, the government said it fully recognised the “importance of transparency”.
Recommended Reading: Eat Out to Help Out – Now Don’t Go Out