Money for Dominic Cummings’ mates – Good Law Project

Why do so many public contracts end up with friends of Dominic Cummings? Like us, you might have wondered. But, although reporters pick these stories up, nothing ever happens. Well, this time it’s different.

(Awaiting the reserved judgement – Owl)

goodlawproject.org 

On 3 March 2020, the Cabinet Office shook hands with Public First, a small privately held polling company. There was no formal contract, prior advertisement, or competitive tender process. It just made what procurement lawyers call a ‘direct award’. It formalised it retrospectively on 5 June 2020 and publicised it a week later. The total contract value is £840,000.

The directors and owners of Public First are Ms Rachel Wolf and Mr James Frayne. They have close connections with both the Minister for the Cabinet Office (the Rt Hon Michael Gove MP) and his long time colleague and Chief Adviser to the Prime Minister who works in the Cabinet Office (Mr Dominic Cummings).

We believe that money for your mates, on a handshake, formalised later, is unlawful. 

This is why Good Law Project has instructed Rook Irwin Sweeney and leading procurement lawyers Jason Coppel QC and Patrick Halliday. You can read our formal pre action protocol letter to Mr Gove and Mr Cummings here and the proceedings here.

To ensure value for money, to protect public funds, to guard against cronyism and bungs, one must put public contracts out to tender. And there was no exception here to that rule.

It is only with your support that we can continue to hold Government to account. If you would like to make a donation, you can do so here.

Timeline:

30th July 2020: Witness statement of Jolyon Maugham QC: available here

30th July 2020: Witness statement of Rook Irwin Sweeney LLP: available here

13th August 2020: Amended court bundle: available here

19th August 2020: Defendant’s Summary Grounds of Resistance: available here

24th November 2020: Order from Court granting Permission for application Judicial Review: available here

21st December 2020: Detailed Grounds of Resistance: available here

21st December 2020: Witness statement of Dominic Cummings: available here

21st December 2020: Witness statement of Lee Cain: available here (Government was unable to produce a signed version of Lee Cain’s witness statement and so it was not relied upon in the hearing)

21st December 2020: Witness statement of Helen Stratton: available here

21st December 2020: Witness statement of Nicola Westmore: available here

21st December 2020: Witness statement of Alex Aiken: available here

21st December 2020: Witness statment of Simon Soothill: available here

21st December 2020: Witness statement of Catherine Hunt: available here

25th January 2021: Claimant’s skeleton argument: available here

1st February 2021: Defendant’s first skeleton: available here

9th February 2021: Witness statement of Mrs Jan Gooding: available here

10th February 2021: Email and instant messaging evidence: available here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here

10th February 2021: Extract from NAO report: available here

15th February 2021: Summary of hearing: available here

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