The British High Court ruled on Wednesday that the government had committed illegal acts on a contract with a company run by a friend of former Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s former chief adviser Dominic Cummings.
The campaign group Goodrow Project has filed a lawsuit against Cabinet Minister Michael Gove over the decision to pay taxpayers over £ 500,000 ($ 700,000) to market research firm Public First.
The group claimed that Boris Johnson’s right-hand man at the time, Dominic Cummings, wanted to provide focus groups and communication support services to companies with his friends as bosses.
In the ruling, Judge Finora O’Farrell said the decision was “clearly prejudiced” and “unable to consider other investigative agencies” and was therefore illegal.
She said that the professional and personal connection between Cummings and Public First did not prevent Cummings from conducting an impartial assessment.
“But if the defendant did not consider other investigative agencies with reference to experience, expertise, availability, or ability, fair and informed observers were biased in decision makers.”
She said the Good Law Project has the right to declare that the decision to confer a contract to Public First “causes obvious prejudice and is illegal.”
Following this ruling, the largest opposition Labor Party demanded an investigation by Michael Gove.
Labor Deputy Leader Angela Rayner called on Boris Johnson to begin investigating whether Gove violated the ministerial covenant regarding the decision on the contract.
However, the Cabinet Office emphasized that there was no “actual bias” in the ruling.
A spokeswoman said, “We welcome the court’s ruling that we are eligible to award a contract because it is so urgent in response to an unprecedented pandemic.”
A Cabinet Office spokesman said, “The ruling did not suggest actual prejudice and made it clear that the decision to award the contract was not due to personal or professional ties.”
Also, in response to the ruling, Cummings said that “the arbitrage of the contract without delay” was “fully justified” when China was facing an emergency due to a pandemic of the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus. Said.
He wrote twitter“On this basis, the court ruled that many of the 2020 decisions were also’illegal’. I and the Chief Cabinet Secretary told the authorities,” In the process / lawyer / potemkin record. Instead, focus on the imminent threat to life / destruction. “
PA contributed to this report.