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Boris Johnson Misled Parliament Over Coronavirus Contracts, Court Order Shows

by : Niamh Shackleton on : 05 Mar 2021 13:43
Boris Johnson Misled Parliament Over Coronavirus Contracts Court Order ShowsPA

A court order has shown that Prime Minister Boris Johnson misled parliament over the publication of coronavirus contracts.

Johnson claimed the contracts were available for everyone to see, but it’s since come to light that only 608 out of 708 relevant contracts were published.

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It’s been deemed unlawful that he failed to publish all 708. All of the contracts were subject to legal challenge and cronyism allegations after Johnson claimed they were all ‘there on the record for everybody to see,’ despite 100 of them not being published.

The final order by judge Mr Justice Chamberlain was handed down by the High Court today, March 5.

BorisPA Images

Chamberlain states in the order, as per The Independent, ‘The Defendant has published 608 out of 708 relevant contracts for supplies and services relating to COVID-19 awarded on or before 7 October 2020.’

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‘In some or all of these cases, the Defendant acted unlawfully by failing to publish the contracts within the period set out in the Crown Commercial Service’s Publication of Central Government Tenders and Contracts: Central Government Transparency Guidance Note (November 2017),’ he continued.

As of last month, the UK Government has spent more than $24 billion on contracts in response to coronavirus, according to Tussell. 60% of this value has been awarded for products and supplies, while 39% was dedicated to procuring services.

Boris JohnsonPA Images

Campaigners are now arguing today’s order confirms Johnson misled MPs even after it was ruled that the government had broken the law.

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The Good Law Project said of today’s news:

Remarkably, the Judge’s Order is based on Government’s own figures – so at the same time as Johnson was falsely reassuring MPs, Government lawyers were preparing a statement contradicting him – revealing 100 contracts and dozens of Contract Award Notices were missing from the public record.

‘Over the course of our judicial review, Government made no less than four attempts to provide an accurate witness statement setting out the number of contracts and Contract Award Notices that had been published late – and they kept getting it wrong,’ the project continued.

Boris Johnson Says He Loved Fox Hunting In A 'Semi-Sexual' WayPA Images
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Legally, the government has to publish Contract Award Notices (CANs) within 30 days, but it’s now being reported that only 3% of its CANs were published within this timeframe.

The Good Law Project, which brought the legal challenge, finished its statement with, ‘We have a Government, and a Prime Minister, contemptuous of transparency and apparently allergic to accountability. The very least that the public deserves now is the truth. ‘

Number 10 is yet to respond to today’s order.

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Niamh Shackleton

Niamh Shackleton is a pint sized person and journalist at UNILAD. After studying Multimedia Journalism at the University of Salford, she did a year at Caters News Agency as a features writer in Birmingham before deciding that Manchester is (arguably) one of the best places in the world, and therefore moved back up north. She's also UNILAD's unofficial crazy animal lady.

Topics: News, Boris Johnson, COVID, prime minister, UK, uk government

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Independent and 1 other
  1. Independent

    Boris Johnson ‘misled parliament’ over Covid contracts, court order shows

  2. The Good Law Project

    BREAKING: Court Order shows Boris Johnson misled Parliament over Covid contracts