Socialist Worker

Priti Patel was lobbying over dodgy PPE deals

Issue No. 2757

Home secretary Priti Patel said unsafe workplaces werent closed due to political correctness fears (Pic: Number 10/Flickr)

Home secretary Priti Patel (Pic: Number 10/Flickr)


Home secretary Priti Patel faces fresh questions over lobbying to help her former adviser land multimillion pound PPE deals.

Leaked documents show Patel pressed ministers and officials who intervened to give a previously unreported £28.8 million contract to a firm represented by Samir Jassal.

Her second intervention to help Jassal came days after she tried to secure a separate £20 million deal for the same firm, Pharmaceuticals Direct Limited (PDL) in an alleged “glaring and flagrant” breach of the ministerial code. The documents relating to the new contract also show how No.10 head of policy Munira Mirza introduced procurement officials to the company’s sales chief, Surbjit Shergill.

The £28.8 million deal for surgical masks was awarded to PDL without competition six days after Patel contacted procurement officials.


Government breaks promise on benefits for the dying

Campaigners, doctors and carers have attacked the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) over delays to a pledged overhaul to benefits rules for those with a terminal illness.

Under the current system, only those with six months or less to live are able to have their benefits claims fast-tracked.

Others face reviews every three years even if they have been diagnosed with a terminal illness.

Earlier this month DWP minister Justin Tomlinson claimed the review had been “completed.” But he failed to set out any of the proposed changes or a date for when they will be published.

Speaking to PoliticsHome, Susie Rabin, head of policy and campaigns at the Motor Neurone Disease Association, said urgent action was needed to fix the “really inappropriate” scheme.

Rabin added that people with Motor Neurone Disease had faced considerable struggles with the system due to the unpredictable and often fast-moving progression of the disease.

She said, “I do know of carers who have had to fill in those 70-page forms that have come to me and said, this is ridiculous, there is no point where I can just say he is completely paralysed and ventilated and can only move his eyes.

“I know of people who are quite near the end of life who have been told their benefits will stop unless they re-apply.”

Ministers also failed to hit a deadline set by the Commons work and pensions committee who had called for the review to be published by the end of November 2020.


Peter Phillips’s status as the Queen’s grandson appears to have given him an advantage in medical equipment to ward off Covid‑19. Phillips was fed down the “VIP lane” for PPE procurement at the height of the pandemic last year.

At the time of his referral in March, he was acting on behalf of a medical company he had not yet formally founded. XF Medical has since become a government-listed supplier of Covid-related goods. Phillips has no medical background or qualifications.


The successor to the Royal Yacht Britannia does not have a name. Tory MPs want to name it after the Duke of Edinburgh. It will cost £200 million. Boris Johnson said, “This new national flagship will be the first vessel of its kind in the world, reflecting the UK’s burgeoning status as a great, independent maritime trading nation.” BoatyMcCorruptface?


Will anyone do my decorating for me?

It could happen to any of us. Someone pays for nearly £60,000 of work on your home, but you don’t ask who or why.

Lord Geidt, the prime minister’s adviser on standards, says Boris Johnson acted “unwisely” by not being more “rigorous” in finding out who had funded refurbishment work on the Downing Street flat.

A Tory donor had paid an invoice for some of the costs. The report did not say how much former Conservative vice-chairman Lord Brownlow had put up, but it was £58,000.

Lord Geidt found “no evidence” that Lord Brownlow had told Johnson “he had personally settled” costs.

And, when Lord Brownlow informed government officials about the money, they had not “acted on this information to the extent of informing the prime minister”, it said.

Meanwhile health secretary Matt Hancock committed a “minor breach” of the ministerial code when a coronavirus contract was awarded to his sister’s company in which he had shareholdings, another Lord Geidt report found.

He said the conflict of interest was “in no way deliberate”


Things they say

‘When is the government going to have the guts to stop the BBC criminalising people for not paying the licence fee which is no better than the poll tax?’

Sir Edward Leigh MP who oddly in 1988 was rather insistent that people went to jail for not paying the poll tax

‘Entirely employee-led’

Pizza Express explains why its decision to cut the tips waiters get was in workers’ own interest

‘She’s had to put up with accusations and smears, and she has come through it all with such dignity’

A Friend of Carrie Johnson on the ‘triumph’ of her wedding to Boris Johnson

‘The prime minister’s girlfriend was trying to appoint her friends to particular jobs’

Allegation from Dominc Cummings, which the wedding wasn’t a distraction from


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