Government likened to 'loo roll panic buyers' over scramble for PPE
- Credit: Parliament Live
Boris Johnson's efforts to buy essential kits for the coronavirus outbreak has been likened to panic buyers trying to get their hands on loo rolls.
Former military top brass Lord West of Spithead claimed he understood such behaviour could be excused for those who were “ill-informed and not well educated”, but it was not acceptable for a government.
The Labour peer and former security minister launched his withering broadside after the public spending watchdog criticised the way normal standards of transparency were set aside in buying up much-needed medical kit during the Covid-19 crisis.
Referring to the watchdog’s findings at Westminster, Lord West: “This issue fills me with despair. The report itself but also that fact it that it appears the government was almost taking actions in a panic.
“Yes horrible things happen but governments shouldn’t panic. There are rules and rules should be followed.
You may also want to watch:
“One could understand an individual, who is ill-informed and not well educated, grabbing a supermarket trolley and filling it with loo rolls, that is not how government should act. There are very clear ways of behaving.”
He added: “When I was in Whitehall and wanted to procure things I had to go through several hoops. Civil service rules demanded it and also the law demanded it. The fact we were having to do things quickly was not an excuse.”
- 1 Would Javid have renamed ICU wards 'Drama Queen Zones'?
- 2 Rabbits defeat French army
- 3 The Spanish village with the mythical blue lagoon
- 4 Empty shelves are partly down to Brexit - but Leavers won't admit it
- 5 Has something shifted in sado-populist Britain?
- 6 Party politics will not save us from the Tories - we need drastic action
- 7 Priti Patel - the poster girl for our poisonous politics
- 8 Ed Vaizey overtakes Paul Dacre in the Ofcom race
- 9 Cost of Brexit is already 38 times more than the money set aside for levelling up
- 10 Boris Johnson: The sado-populist prime minister
Pressing the minister, Lord West said: “Will we be checking that civil service rules were actually complied with and that the correct actions were taken that didn’t break any of the laws of the land?”
But in an apparent sarcastic rebuke to the former commander, health minister Lord Bethell said he was “always grateful for advice from the Ministry of Defence on procurement”.
Become a Supporter
The New European is proud of its journalism and we hope you are proud of it too. We believe our voice is important - both in representing the pro-EU perspective and also to help rebalance the right wing extremes of much of the UK national press. If you value what we are doing, you can help us by making a contribution to the cost of our journalism.