Piers Morgan criticises government for spending 'stratospheric amount' on 'dodgy deals on PPE'
- Credit: ITV
Piers Morgan has criticised government decisions to award controversial contracts over Covid-19 which has left the taxpayer "reaping the ruin financially".
Morgan was interviewing business secretary Alok Sharma on Good Morning Britain after it was revealed that £21 million was awarded to a Spanish businessman to act as a "go-between" in a contract which worked with Chinese manufacturers creating gloves and gowns.
But they were unable to fulfil the contract reportedly due to a supply problem in China.
Asked by Morgan about the government's decision to award a "stratospheric amount of money to a middle man", Sharma dodged the detail.
He said: "As I understand, that was a contract that was looked at by the Department of Health. But if I take you back to some months ago, there was huge pressure to get PPE into the system, quite rightly.
"Every single government around the world was fighting for PPE, to get their hands on PPE, and get it to the frontline. And at Downing Street press conferences, I was asked quite rightly when we are going to get PPE."
But Morgan snapped back: "The fundamental point is contrary to what Matt Hancock said in January in parliament, we were not prepared for this, and in particular not prepared, despite having a pandemic exercise four years earlier which revealed chronic shortage of PPE, the Conservative government did nothing to replenish this stock.
- 1 Public give hilarious reaction to Brexiteer's tweet on Project Fear
- 2 'The irony': Iain Duncan Smith mocked following 'honesty with the public' remark about Rishi Sunak
- 3 Commons speaker delivers blistering attack on government following leak of latest lockdown information
- 4 Transport boss calls government's handling of Brexit border proceedings a 'complete shambles'
- 5 British actors barred from applying for role of young Prince William due to Brexit
- 6 Brexiteer Claire Fox defends public sector pay freeze saying workers are 'not the only heroes'
- 7 The Remainers who haven't been paying attention
- 8 Nine best tweets trolling Nigel Farage over anti-lockdown post
- 9 Rishi Sunak fails to declare family's wealth in ministerial register, probe finds
- 10 Joe Biden could scrap US-UK travel corridor in favour of one with Ireland
"Which meant we then had to go out into the market place to pay these middle-men tens of millions of pounds of taxpayers' money to catch up because we weren't prepared."
He added: "We simply weren't prepared, were we? And the taxpayer is now reaping the ruin financially of that, that money should be going to the NHS, not coming out of it, not coming out of it paying middle-men for dodgy deals on PPE."
Referencing a National Audit Office report on Covid-19 contracts, Sharma said that it recognised the government "had acted at pace" to get the equipment needed for the pandemic.
He said: "There was an eight-process check in terms of individual contracts, and of course, all public contracts ultimately set out and published and are available in due course in the appropriate time and that will happen.
"But I think the fundamental point is we worked really hard to get PPE on the front line. Where 1% of PPE used was produced in the UK, we now have 70%, so we have made an effort."
As Sharma ended the interview, Morgan continued to fume. "How much more money have they wasted on these people because we simply weren't prepared for a pandemic, even though we had a pandemic exercise in which we prepared for a pandemic. It's incredible."
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.