Valerie Vaz called for a public enquiry into companies who have been awarded government contracts without tender during the pandemic last night.
The Shadow Leader of the House of Commons told her opposite number Jacob Rees-Mogg that an online map called ‘My Little Crony’ showing the web of connections between the Conservatives and private companies was ‘well worth a look’.
Scores of government contracts have been handed out to political donors, family members and employers during the pandemic, with research by the Good Law Project uncovering the scale of cronyism in Number 10.
Vaz also questioned why PR consultants were needed to get the government’s message across when ‘I’d rather (deputy chief medical officer) Dr (Jonathan) Van-Tam tell me about it than a public relations so-called expert’.
The government is said to have paid 23 PR companies £130 million so far this year, including £670,000 on eight ‘media strategy’ consultants for vaccine task force head Kate Bingham.
Thanks for the shout out, @Valerie_VazMP!— Sophie Hill (@sophie_e_hill) November 12, 2020
We all understand that the government had to act quickly during the pandemic. But that is no excuse for cronyism and incompetence.
Explore the map and decide for yourself: https://t.co/hooKR4dBx0 pic.twitter.com/mRSHZLEeUY
Many of the companies have reportedly ‘established links to senior Tories’. They include Hanbury Strategy, whose co-founder Paul Stephenson worked with Dominic Cummings in the Vote Leave campaign, while fellow boss Ameet Gill was David Cameron’s director of strategy. Another is Public First, whose co-founder Rachel Wolf is a former adviser to Michael Gove.
Mr Rees-Mogg said the government had to employ PR advisers due to “anti-vaxxer nutters” who “go around spreading rumour and causing concern”.
Since you are here
Since you are here, we wanted to ask for your help.
Journalism in Britain is under threat. The government is becoming increasingly authoritarian and our media is run by a handful of billionaires, most of whom reside overseas and all of them have strong political allegiances and financial motivations.
Our mission is to hold the powerful to account. It is vital that free media is allowed to exist to expose hypocrisy, corruption, wrongdoing and abuse of power. But we can't do it without you.
If you can afford to contribute a small donation to the site it will help us to continue our work in the best interests of the public. We only ask you to donate what you can afford, with an option to cancel your subscription at any point.
To donate or subscribe to The London Economic, click here.
The TLE shop is also now open, with all profits going to supporting our work.
The shop can be found here.
You can also SUBSCRIBE TO OUR NEWSLETTER .