The government is embroiled in controversy over the millions of surgical gowns awarded by the PPE business through the fast-track “VIP Lane” following a referral by Conservative Pierre Michel Mone.
Health Minister Edward Arger broke more than a year of secrecy over a surgical gown supplied by the company, PPE MedPro, and told Labor deputy leader Angela Rainer this week that the government was “mediating” with the company.
Earlier, the last concrete information about PPE MedPro products was made available in December 2020, when the department Health And Social Care (DHSC) said: “Gowns delivered by Medpro are not distributed on the frontline.”
DHSC sources then said that the gowns delivered by PPE Medpro under its second contract, for 122m – are still being “evaluated” to ensure they meet safety and quality standards.
The Guardian recently reported that Lady Mone and her husband, Isle of Man-based financier Douglas Baroman, PPE appears to be secretly involved in Medpro’s business, Despite their repeated denials, they had no “role or function” in the company.
The government had revealed in November Mone initially referred the company in May 2020 The minister responsible for purchases in the cabinet office during the epidemic, in the office of his fellow Conservative friend Theodore Agnew. Agnew referred PPE Medpro to the VIP fast-track process for politically affiliated firms, and in weeks DHSC awarded the company a total contract of £ 203m.
There was a VIP lane This week, the high court ruled illegal, Later The challenge Through the Good Law Project, Mrs. Justice O’Farrell ruled that potential suppliers violated the requirement to be treated equally.
Argar declined to tell Rainer earlier this month whether the gown was supplied by PPE Medpro. Calling it “commercially sensitive.”.
Asked By Rainer To clarify how it was considered, provided the Minister His answer On 11 January, it stated: “The Department is currently engaging in an arbitration process with PPE MedPro regarding their products, so the information is considered commercially sensitive, including confidentiality undertakings.”
Arbitration is a way to resolve agreement disputes to avoid litigation in court.
Anthony Page, director of PPE MedPro Ltd and the sole registered owner in the UK working for Baroman in the Isle of Man, confirmed the mediation in the gown was ongoing, saying through a lawyer that “several months later the dispute arose. Delivery”.
The lawyer said: “Our client firmly defends his position regarding the supply of gowns delivered on time, at very competitive prices and in full compliance with the agreement.”
He said the face mask supplied by PPE Medpro – under its first deal for £ 80.85m – was “all done at any time without any challenge”.
Rainer said: “This government has wasted millions on crony contracts made through VIP Lane, which was not only flashy by the high court but completely illegal.
“It’s no wonder they’re desperate to hide the facts. But the public doesn’t know who spends their money hiding under the guise of business sensitivities. We need to know if this PPE was actually used to protect NHS staff and what the government is doing to get taxpayers’ cash back.” If it weren’t for that. “
A DHSC spokesperson said: “All PPEs must undergo rigorous inspections to ensure they meet the required safety and quality requirements. The department is working to identify all instances of supplier non-delivery or product quality failure in the entire portfolio of PPE contracts, and to recover costs of unreliable or substandard PPEs.” “
The spokesman clarified that it referred to all PPEs “specifically not Medpro”, and declined to answer questions about Mediation or PPE Medpro products, saying the details were “commercially sensitive”.