UK Crony Capitalism: The Judgment is in

29 April 2021 — Good Law Project

Good Law Project is today able to reveal the names of four more companies awarded contracts through the VIP lane: Clandeboye Agencies, P14 Medical, Luxe Lifestyle and Meller Designs.

These four are in addition to Ayanda, which enjoyed a £252m deal negotiated by Liz Truss adviser Andrew Mills. And Pestfix which won approximately £350m in contracts despite being described by Government as a company “which specialises in pest control products, that was dormant in 2018” (see page 73). There remain a further 41 firms yet to be revealed.

Good Law Project can also reveal that of the nine contracts the subject of the judicial review – one with Ayanda, two with Clandeboye and six with Pestfix – five or possibly six of them have failed in the sense that some or all of the PPE provided under them has proved unfit for its intended purpose (see page 2). Hundreds and hundreds of millions of pounds – spent with these three suppliers alone – have been wasted. It is inconceivable that this is the only waste. Moreover, the documents disclose that Pestfix and Matt Hancock are “in legal dispute” (see page 176).

In relation to Ayanda, civil servants were afraid of losing the contract with Ayanda because Andrew Mills “has close ties to DIT so wouldn’t be a good outcome” (see page 188), were concerned that Andrew Mills “is using previous relationships and making noise that we are not responsive” (page 190), and “Andrew comes through as highly backed as he sits on the board for DIT – so I don’t want things being escalated” (page 191).

The High Court said the Government should carry out additional searches for:

  1. texts and WhatsApp messages for some selected civil servants; and
  2. instructions, directions and decisions by Ministers in respect of the establishment, selection and criteria of the VIP lane.

It also said that the Government should supply details of the advice given by Emily Lawson in relation to FFP2 facemasks.

With reference to our other applications, the Government either has now supplied or agreed to supply the information we sought, or our application for that information was rejected by the Court.

The Government was ordered to pay our costs of the application.

Thank you,

Jo Maugham
Director of Good Law Project

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