British Health Minister Matt Hancock defended sending an offer from a former Conservative Minister. As a result, millions of pounds of personal protective equipment (PPE) were traded last year.
After being accused of favoritism, Hancock said it was “fully rational” to forward the message, having nothing to do with the awarding of the contract.
British newspaper The Sunday Times On May 16, former Civil Society Minister Brooks Newmark lobbyed Hancock directly two months after the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus pandemic in China became a pandemic and traded PPE. I reported that I proposed.
Newmark sent an email to Hancock on May 27, stating that “we had connections with China’s” connected and strong “people, but we needed government support to accelerate the deal.” I have attached a suggestion.
According to reports, Hancock responded within a few hours: Definitely one for the PPE team currently firing on all cylinders. “
The Sunday Times said the information was obtained under the Information Disclosure Act.
Hancock’s aide then reportedly forwarded the proposal to Sir Paul Dayton. Responsible for manufacturing PPEAfter Newmark asks “someone in the company” “take responsibility when trying to seriously explore this option”.
In an email to Dayton, Hancock’s aide called the proposal “excellent,” and said the Minister of Health and he / she “would be very grateful if Sir Dayton could investigate.” [it] urgently. “
According to the newspaper, the Ministry of Health awarded the company a contract for protective goggles for £ 178 million ($ 250 million) on June 1, allowing emergency authority to sign a contract directly instead of bidding. became.
Hancock spoke to the BBC on Sunday, saying that it was “absolutely appropriate” for Newmark to lobby him and that it was “fully rational” for him to send it.
“It was absolutely appropriate for people to contact someone in the Ministry of Health when the country was in desperate need of PPE,” Hancock said.
“Of course, if someone approaches the Minister of Health during a pandemic and is desperately short of PPE, it’s perfectly reasonable to say that the Minister of Health can send an email to confirm this. These contracts It has nothing to do with his signature, “he added.
Asked if Newmark received special treatment, Hancock replied, “No, I just pinged it.”
Hancock said the process of getting “high quality offers” quickly is open to everyone.
“By the way, I’m glad I did what I did with 90 million goggles later,” the Minister of Health told the BBC.
On March 17, Hancock said the CCP virus pandemic revealed weaknesses in the UK supply chain model.
Before the CCP virus epidemic became a pandemic, PPE was sent in large numbers from various countries to China.
In addition to concealing the outbreak of the CCP virus in China, White House trade adviser Peter Navarro during the Trump administration blamed the Chinese administration for hoarding PPE to benefit from a pandemic.
PA, Alexander Zhang, and Jack Phillips contributed to this report.