Monday 22 November 2021 / 10:12 AM Angela Rayner / Coronavirus

Labour demands independent investigation into secret meetings after Minister admits no minutes of meeting with Randox

Labour has demanded an independent investigation into secret meetings that have taken place between Ministers and companies that have been awarded government contracts after a Minister admitted that the government couldn’t find records of a meeting between a government Minister and Randox – a company that was awarded £600m in contracts.

In a letter to the Cabinet Secretary Simon Case, Labour’s Deputy Leader and Shadow Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster Angela Rayner said: “If Ministers cannot locate or do not have minutes for a specific meeting involving a Minister and a company that was awarded £600 million in contracts, Ministers also cannot tell us how many other meetings may have taken place in secret with companies that have been awarded contracts.”

Rayner has also demanded all correspondence between Ministers and companies that have been awarded government contracts, and all available minutes, documents and notes related to these meetings as well as sanctions for any Minister found to have broken the Ministerial Code by having secret meetings.

Any Minister conducting government business in a secret meeting without officials present to take notes and minutes of the meeting has breached the Ministerial Code.

Rayner’s letter sets out six questions for the Government to answer:

  • What steps are you taking to find these meeting minutes and other notes related to these meetings between government Ministers and Randox?
  • What steps are you taking to identify whether there were other meetings involving government Ministers and Randox that took place without officials present and/or without minutes or notes and are therefore secret?
  • What steps are you taking to identify how many other meetings involving government Ministers and other companies that were awarded government contracts have taken place without officials present and/or without minutes or notes, and are therefore secret?
  • Will you now open an independent investigation into secret meetings between Ministers and companies that have been awarded or discussed government contracts that take place without records and minutes?
  • Will you now publish all correspondence between Ministers and companies that have been awarded government contracts, and all available minutes, documents and notes related to these meetings?
  • What sanctions and punishments will Ministers face for breaching the Ministerial Code if they have met with companies without officials present and without minutes of these meetings being recorded, or if they do so in the future?

Angela Rayner MP, Labour’s Deputy Leader and Shadow Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, said:

“The Randox scandal could be the tip of the Conservative corruption iceberg.

“If Ministers are meeting companies that they award contracts to without any records or minutes that is not just a breach of the Ministerial Code it is also a complete breach of any basic standards of integrity, transparency or honesty in public office.

“This is taxpayers’ money that Conservative Ministers have been handing out to their mates. We need answers about these secret meetings and Ministers who break the rules must be held to account.”