Monday 15 February 2021 / 4:22 PM Rachel Reeves

Labour responds to revelations on Public First contract links to Gove and Cummings; calls for urgent action on cronyism

Labour have today called for urgent action from the government to tackle cronyism, after a judicial hearing into a contract awarded to agency Public First revealed influence from both Michael Gove and the Prime Minister’s former special adviser Dominic Cummings.

During a judicial hearing brought by the Good Law Project today, it was revealed that, despite a previous denial, both Gove and Cummings were linked to the appointment of Public First to a major contract, without tendering and without a formal contract in the first instance. This was retrospectively awarded on 5 June 2020, four months after the initial “hand shake” agreement.

Labour have also written directly to the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster demanding urgent answers on the revelations, and calling for the seventh time, for the government to reveal who won contracts through the Cabinet Office’s “VIP” fast lane for procurement.


Rachel Reeves MP, Labour’s Shadow Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, responding to the revelations, said:

“Today’s findings are troubling and unsurprising, and a perfect example of how this government believes it is one rule for them another for the rest of us.

“It is appalling that the government not only dismissed these very credible claims of connections influencing this contract as ‘nonsense’ – but also that it took a judicial review to bring to light what should be publicly available information on how taxpayer money is being spent.

“This government’s contracting has been plagued by cronyism and waste and they must take urgent steps to address this now – by urgently winding down emergency procurement, releasing details of the VIP fast lane, and publishing all outstanding contracts by the end of the month. This cronyism must stop.”