How Johnson’s cronies are profiting from COVID

From open democracy:

Guess what? Boris Johnson’s cronies are continuing to get rich during this new (grim) phase of the pandemic.

We’ve just discovered that a firm controlled by major Tory donor Lord Ashcroft has landed a £350m COVID vaccination deal.

Once again it’s shrouded in secrecy, so we don’t know what’s actually being provided.

We do know the firm has a poor track record. A 2019 report found its care services ‘inadequate’ and ‘not safe’, including administering ‘potential overdoses’ of medicines. We also know that Ashcroft is one of the Tories’ biggest donors. 

Throughout the COVID crisis, Tory allies and donors have had a ‘VIP lane’ to win lucrative taxpayer-funded contracts – as a recent, damning National Audit Office report put it.

We’ve exposed scandal after scandal: from a Tory councillor landing a £156m PPE deal to the secret appointment of Lord Feldman, former Tory chairman and corporate lobbyist, as a COVID advisor.

What’s really worrying is the secrecy. We uncovered details of a Downing Street unit planning a radical ‘shake-up’ of the NHS: something they’d been denying for months. And when we threatened to sue over their dodgy NHS data deals with the controversial spy firm Palantir, they snuck the deal through anyway.

That’s why we have a plan. We’re not only going to challenge these dodgy practises in the courts. We’re also launching a massive campaign to stop Johnson’s government blocking journalists (like us) and members of the public (like you) from asking inconvenient questions. 

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