You may recall that Ayanda, connected to Liz Truss, delivered £160m of unusable face masks to the NHS in a contract that had remarkable and inexplicable clauses (which Govt refuses to explain) for a profit we believe to be substantially in excess of £50m. /1
Ayanda served a brief Summary Defence to our judicial review - which is brought against the Government not it - which rarely elevates itself above the rhetorical. You can read it here, if you really want. /2…
You may think given these facts we properly took this action in the public interest. But yesterday its lawyers sent this letter to the court attaching this bill for over £40k for that very preliminary work alone. /3….
We hope we won't have to pay it - but the threat of massive costs bills, which Pestfix, impecunious before it landed eleven public PPE contracts, is also wielding - is the most effective way to ensure that we never get to see what and with whom Govt does with your money. /4
In the last few days we have written to Government demanding, again, a list of the billions of unlawfully unpublished contracts (we think of the £7.5bn of PPE contracts the NAO was aware of on 30/7 Govt has published less than £3bn worth). /5…
And yesterday we wrote to Government asking for details of the over £100bn of proposed spend - nearing £2,000 for every single person in the UK - that Government is committing with zero scrutiny over why, how or with whom. /6…
We will not be bullied into silence by these threats of enormous costs bills. If you sell £160m of unusable masks to the NHS you should expect some, and you certainly deserve, scrutiny. End of.

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More from @JolyonMaugham

9 Sep
Some (unpopular) personal impressions follow about professional/ministerial ethics and retrospectively rewriting the withdrawal agreement.
If Parliamentary sovereignty - a notion at the heart of most lawyers' idea of our rag-tag constitution - means anything it must mean Parliament can enact (thus Ministers can advise on and recommend) the bringing of legislation that breaches international law. /1
Whether it is a 'good idea' to breach international law is a political judgment, which (like most) raises ethical and other political considerations, but unless you want to argue Parliament is not supreme, Ministers must be free to recommend that Parliament does it. /2
Read 13 tweets
8 Sep
Boris Johnson believes the Withdrawal Agreement he entered into "never made sense" and "would leave Northern Ireland isolated from the rest of the UK."

But what did he say at the time - following, a few of many examples?
22 October 2019: "this new deal... I believe is profoundly in the interests of our whole United Kingdom" (
22 October 2019: "for the vast majority of the Northern Ireland economy, Northern Ireland exits with the rest of the UK whole and entire, able to do free trade deals from the outset and participate in all the other benefits of Brexit"(
Read 12 tweets
1 Sep
Lots of interest in the placing of PPE contracts with dormant companies (ie the below, today, for £43.8m). I see this as part of a pattern of groups choosing to put PPE contracts into entities with limited or no assets.…
Lots of examples, including putting contracts in the weakest entity in the group, in a Newco, establishing a new Holdco to hive assets up to, and so on.
Makes a lot of sense looked at through the eyes of the Group: if (like many of those Government has contracted with) you don't really know what you're doing, you get to both stand in line whilst Government hands out public money and limit your exposure to the risks of doing so.
Read 6 tweets
29 Aug
Why have we sidestepped procurement rules to spend £426m buying about 27 million coveralls when in the whole pandemic so far we have used only 417,000 of them?

(And some other multi-choice questions for PhDs about the Government’s weird, weird procurement?)
Of that £426m (that we know about) spent on coveralls that we don't appear to need, £239m has gone to Unispace an entity linked to the Plymouth Brethren that has received a staggering £456m of PPE contracts (that we know about).
£104m on gloves (…).
Read 6 tweets
28 Aug
You will recall the £160m of unusable Ayanda facemasks ().

There are also huge questions about the £32m contract for isolation suits – also known as “coveralls” – the Government entered into with Crisp Websites Limited trading as Pestfix. THREAD
(Rather like Pestfix) I am not a specialist in PPE procurement. What follows – where it addresses matters that require specialised knowledge of PPE – is the result of conversations with those I understand to be genuine experts. /1
First a little background.

Originally Government said it had entered into a contract for £108m with Pestfix for gloves, masks and coveralls/isolation suits – but on 17 June admitted that had been a mistake and that it had entered into a £32m contract just for suits. /2
Read 22 tweets
23 Aug
Enough is enough. Along with @CarolineLucas, @Debbie_abrahams and @LaylaMoran, @GoodLawProject has launched legal action against Government for its persistent and unlawful failure to disclose details of its billions of COVID-related spending.…
We've approved a staggering £15bn of PPE spending. The little of it we can see tells of implausible counterparties, political connections and vast waste on duff product. Meanwhile, Govt ignores its mandatory and unconditional legal duty of transparency.…
And that's not all we've done.

A river of public money flows - without any tender process at all - into the coffers of Gove and Cummings' associates Public First: from the Cabinet Office, from the Department of Health and from Ofqual.…
Read 4 tweets

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