So Jolyon’s Jolly – or as I like to think of it, his pitch for a peerage from a grateful nation – claims a scalp over unlawful government behaviour:
Michael Gove broke the law by giving a contract to a communications agency run by long time associates of him and Dominic Cummings, the High Court has decided.
The Court found that the decision to award the £560,000 contract to Public First was tainted by “apparent bias” and was unlawful. The Court found that Gove’s:
“failure to consider any other research agency… would lead a fair minded and informed observer to conclude that there was a real possibility, or a real danger, that the decision maker was biased” (paragraph 168).
Michael Gove had claimed that the work was such that only Public First could carry it out. However, the High Court rejected that version of events. The simple truth, it held, was that the Cabinet Office didn’t even consider whether anyone else should have the contract.
The decision vindicates Good Law Project’s long-running characterisation of pandemic procurement as “institutionalised cronyism”.
Well, you know, that’s not quite and wholly what the court did decide. Instead:
It’s urgent, they’re allowed to use the no competitive bid we’ll send the work where we want method.
The second reason they’re whingeing doesn’t matter either.
Blimey, what a heinous thing to be found guilty of, eh? Sending a contract you really need, and fast, without competition, being entirely legal.