Bullying and broken rules: This government has no integrity

Rishi Sunak in a suit in Downing Street

To suggest that Sunak is offering a sea change would be utterly misleading (Picture: Getty)

What were you doing in autumn 2020 as the UK prepared to return to Covid lockdown?

You may have taken a lonely stroll through a park as part of your daily government-sanctioned exercise.

You may have been on your way to a shift as a key worker in our hospitals, supermarkets or schools.

Perhaps you’ve caught a glimpse of an elderly family member in a nursing home through a window.

Or maybe you were one of three million volunteers in mutual aid groups offering support to people in your community.

As we all struggled, Baroness Michelle Mone, a fellow Conservative in the House of Lords, reportedly pocketed £29million, which came from profits from a PPE deal, and planned her honeymoon at a luxury resort in the Maldives.

Lady Mone and her husband, Isle of Man financier Douglas Barrowman, have no medical expertise whatsoever. But after her lobbying, the company PPE Medpro secured a spot in a “VIP lane” that the government used for companies with political connections during the pandemic.

Medpro secured contracts to manufacture more than £200m worth of PPE, although some of these devices were never used.

Mone and her husband then allegedly benefited from a portion of the company’s profits for themselves and Mone’s children.

These extraordinary claims need not simply be investigated – they warrant a thorough full and forensic investigation and an immediate withdrawal of Baroness Mone’s conservative whip while it is still in progress.

Businesswoman Michelle Mone enters the House of Lords as Baroness Mone of Mayfair after being made a Tory peer.

It is alleged that Michelle Mone and her husband benefited from profits from a PPE company they recommended to ministers (Image: PA)

And if they continue to go unanswered, they will set fire to Rishi Sunak’s claim that his government will have “integrity, professionalism and accountability at all levels” along with £4billion in unusable PPE.

Mone has not yet been found guilty of anything.

But the need to get to the bottom of the allegations against her is underscored by what we already know about the actions of some of her conservative colleagues.

Let me just go through a few examples.

Former Health Secretary, current celebrity wannabe Matt Hancock, has been found to have technically broken Ministers’ Code by failing to declare a 20 per cent stake in a company that won an NHS contract in 2019 – the was run by his own sister and brother. Law.

Rishi Sunak not only welcomed Williamson back into the herd with open arms, but stood by his direct side as the shocking evidence of bullying mounted

The Health Secretary for much of the pandemic, Lord Bethell, met the Randox company five times (although he only stated one) after extensive lobbying by then-MP Owen Paterson.

Paterson had a second job as a paid consultant for Randox, earning £100,000 a year.

A company run by one person who had previously worked with Michael Gove and another with Dominic Cummings has been awarded a £840,000 contract without an open tender to test the effectiveness of the government’s Covid information campaigns.

As the public stood outside their homes every night clapping for the NHS, it seems some government cronies snuck in, ransacked the place and snuck out the back with full pockets.

As the Covid inquiry continues to gather evidence, the Government will no doubt argue that this “VIP lane” was necessary because Covid-19 was an unprecedented event and the need for PPE was urgent.

The pandemic was certainly unprecedented and urgent – but that should never be an excuse for ignoring crucial standards and ethics.

Obviously, some processes had to be expedited – but no unprecedented and urgent crises benefit from a procurement policy that seems to favor contracts for miners and often provides unusable equipment.

And for these cronies to benefit financially from a health crisis that has killed hundreds of thousands and turned our entire economy and society upside down, every NHS worker currently despairing of unfair pay and a stretched health care system is adding a bucket load of salt to the wound added.

Gavin Williamson, in a blue suit with a red tie

Gavin Williamson had already been sacked by two Prime Ministers before resigning over bullying allegations (Image: Getty)

Some might say that activity like this is a result of Boris Johnson having a uniquely easygoing Prime Minister – and he certainly was.

But to suggest that Sunak is offering a sea change would be completely misleading – on the contrary, he has brought more of it.

Former Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick has overruled the Planning Inspectorate to approve a new housing development proposed by a Tory Party donor. Where is Jenrick now? Back in Sunak’s ministerial team as Minister of Immigration.

Suella Braverman was forced to resign as Home Secretary in October after sending an official document from her personal email to a colleague in Parliament, in a serious breach of ministerial rules. Just six days later, she was back in the same role.

Dominic Raab is facing three formal bullying complaints but remains in office as Deputy Prime Minister – an embarrassing distraction at best, an insult to alleged victims at worst.

And do I need to mention Sir Gavin Williamson, who has already been ousted from government by two previous Prime Ministers?

Rishi Sunak not only welcomed Williamson back into the herd with open arms, but as the shocking evidence of bullying mounted, he stood right by his side before Williamson bowed to the inevitable and resigned.

Five months after Lord Geidt left the position, this government still has no ethics adviser, no clear timetable for recruiting a new one and no offer of new powers to lend credibility to the role – so no wonder he is struggling to fill it occupy.

That’s because integrity, professionalism, and accountability are words, not actions, to this administration.

And the only way they can be restored is through general elections – now.

Do you have a story you would like to share? Contact us by email at jess.austin@metro.co.uk.

Share your views in the comments below.

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https://metro.co.uk/2022/12/05/bullying-and-broken-rules-this-government-has-no-integrity-17879576/ Bullying and broken rules: This government has no integrity

Justin Scacco

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