The government broke the law by handing over a coronavirus contract to an associate of ministers and former chief assistant to the prime minister, a judge ruled.
In a judgment on Wednesday, the High Court ruled that awarding the £ 560,000 arrangement to the communications agency Public First, which has ties to Minister Michael Gove and Dominic Cummings, was “illegal”.
The case also found that there was “an apparent bias” surrounding the deal.
It was put forward by The Good Law Project, a nonprofit campaign organization, which questioned the decision to pay the large sum of taxpayer money to the company after the coronavirus crisis began in March 2020.
They also questioned the role of the Prime Minister’s former chief adviser, Mr Cummings, in awarding the deal.
Ministers had previously disputed the Good Law Project’s claim, saying Mr Cummings – who left his post at Downing Street at the end of 2020 – made a recommendation about the agency, not a decision.
They said Mr Cummings recommended a company he knew could fulfill the mandate and asked for the case to be dismissed.
The judgment states: “The plaintiff [The Good Law Project] is entitled to a declaration that the Decision of June 5, 2020 to award the Contract to Public First gave rise to apparent bias and was illegal.
“After the delivery of this judgment, the hearing will be adjourned to a date to be fixed for the purposes of any consequential question, including any application for leave to appeal, and any time limit is extended until such hearing or a new order. . “
The representative of the Good Law Project, lawyer Jason Coppel QC, said: “Public First got this contract because Dominic Cummings wanted Public First to have this contract.”
Mr Coppel also suggested that Cabinet Minister Mr Gove had ties to the owners of Public First, Rachel Wolfe and James Frayne.
Michael Bowsher QC, Cabinet Member …
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This notice was published: 2021-06-09 10:01:00