Questioned about PPE procurement by Angela Rayner, then junior Cabinet Office minister Julia Lopez told the House of Commons “all PPE offers, no matter where they came from, went through the same eight-stage checks.”
When Michael Gove was later questioned in the House of Commons about government procurement during the pandemic, Gove also responded by saying: “every single procurement decision went through an eight-stage process.”
Responding to a written question from Angela Raynor the following week, the Government backtracked and admitted that the important “eight-stage” procurement process wasn’t in place until the end of April 2020. Contracts awarded before this date avoided the eight point scrutiny process.
It said: “The eight stage process to assess and approve offers of support to supply personal protection equipment (PPE) evolved over a short period of time at the end of April 2020 to formalise the checks quickly put in place by the cross-Government PPE procurement cell in March 2020. Contracts with Ayanda Capital and Pestfix pre-dated the formalised eight stage assurance process but these suppliers were evaluated by officials on financial standing, technical compliance and ability to perform the contract.”
Lopez’ claim was false, as was Gove’s. Her false statement remains on the Commons record in defiance of the Ministerial Code. So does his.
We approached Ms Lopez - and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport where she now serves as a minister - to give them a chance to comment, but no reply.