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Thursday, June 10, 2021

Government acted unlawfully on Covid contract

The BBC report on a high court ruling that the government acted unlawfully when it awarded a £560,000 contract to a firm run by former colleagues of Michael Gove and the PM's adviser Dominic Cummings.

Michael Gove denied any favouritism had been shown to market research agency Public First, but the judge said a failure to consider other firms could be seen as suggesting a "real danger" of bias:

Campaigners took legal action against Mr Gove over the Cabinet Office's decision to use the company following the start of the pandemic last year.

They also questioned the involvement of Mr Cummings, who worked in Downing Street until he quit as the prime minister's chief adviser last autumn.

Lawyers for the Good Law Project argued that Mr Cummings wanted focus group and communications support services work to be given to Public First, whose founding partners were Rachel Wolf and James Frayne.

In 2011, Mr Frayne became director of communications at the Department of Education, where he worked alongside Mr Cummings, who was a special adviser to Mr Gove, the then education secretary.

Ms Wolf formerly worked as an adviser to Mr Gove and for Mr Cummings, and co-wrote the Conservatives' 2019 general election manifesto.

The lack of transparency in the awarding of contracts and the number awarded to people with close connections to Ministers and the Tory Party have raised many questions which need answers.
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