Minister moves photograph from wall following Covid contract controversy

Matt Hancock during an interview on Good Morning Britain last year

Matt Hancock during an interview on Good Morning Britain - Credit: ITV

Matt Hancock appears to have removed a picture of a friend's pub from his wall following a court ruling on coronavirus contracts.

Alex Bourne, who ran the Cock Inn near Hancock's former constituency in Thurlow, secured a contract to provide medical equipment after contacting the health secretary over Whatsapp.



It comes as the UK's medicines regulator, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), this week confirmed an investigation into "reports of non-compliance" by Bourne's company - which had no prior experience of producing medical equipment.

Hancock previously had a photograph of the Cock Inn on his wall, which was visible in TV interviews over his right shoulder.

But on his media round Tuesday morning, a different picture was hanging in its place.


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Bourne's company is being investigated over inadequate health and hygiene facilities -  a claimed he dismissed as "just not true".

He said Hinpack, which employs 137 people and used to produce food and drink packaging, had altered its production line to make test tubes.

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The firm had submitted a hundred documents, he claimed, to pass through "highly regulatory" processes, adding: "You're allowed to go and try and we got through all the hoops. We built this thing in record time and the MHRA has approved everything."

The Guardian reported Hinpack's work on the Covid tests was worth around £30 million, but Bourne said that figure was "incorrect".

MORE: Matt Hancock reignites 'chumocracy' row after ex-neighbour is handed Covid work following WhatsApp message

It is understood the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) does not have direct contact with Hinpack.

Bourne said he got Hancock's number through a friend and but was told by the minister to apply via regular government channels "like everybody else". He insisted he had received "no preferential treatment whatsoever".

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