Former Tory parliamentary candidate who campaigned alongside Boris Johnson ‘brokered £100m government contract for PPE’
- Samir Jassal reportedly helped to broker £100million PPE government contract
- Mr Jassal stood for Tories at general elections and campaigned alongside PM
- Department of Health said ‘due diligence has been carried out on every contract’
A former Tory parliamentary candidate helped to broker a £100million government PPE contract, it was claimed today.
Samir Jassal, an ex-Conservative councillor who has campaigned alongside both David Cameron and Boris Johnson, helped to secure the deal for face masks last July.
The contract was published seven months later after the Government was admonished by a court for failing to publish contracts in a timely manner.
The contract was redacted but a second accompanying document reportedly names Mr Jassal as the supplier’s contact.
The news, first reported by the BBC, will likely prompt fresh questions over how contracts were awarded by the Government last year as it scrambled to secure PPE supplies during the first wave of the coronavirus pandemic.
The Department of Health said in a statement that ‘due diligence has been carried out on every contract and ministers have no involvement in deciding who is awarded contracts’.
Samir Jassal, pictured right, with Boris Johnson in 2019 during a visit to Gurdwara Sri Guru Sabha Sikh Temple in London’s Southall
The contract for the deal with Pharmaceuticals Direct Limited was published in March.
The BBC said a ‘clerical error’ had likely meant that Mr Jassal’s name was accidentally released on an accompanying document in which he is listed as the ‘supplier’s contact’. Mr Jassal told the broadcaster that he was a consultant for the firm.
Mr Jassal stood as a Conservative candidate at two general elections and his LinkedIn profile said he served as an adviser to Priti Patel between 2014 and 2015.
The BBC said that Mr Jassal donated £4,000 to the Conservative Party in 2016.
Mr Jassal told the BBC PDL has 20 years’ experience in the healthcare sector and it asked to supply PPE via an online government portal.
He said the masks ‘successfully entered the NHS supply chain in a timely manner’ and they met ‘all technical standards which were rigorously vetted and approved by the Health and Safety Executive, the DHSC and the NHS’.
A Department of Health spokesman said: ‘The first duty of any government in a national crisis is to protect the public and save lives, and to do that when confronted with this global pandemic we had to rapidly procure and produce PPE.
‘This involved setting up a new logistics network from scratch and expanding our PPE supply chain from 226 NHS Trusts in England to more than 58,000 different settings, all of which was taking place at a time when global demand was greater than ever before.
‘All PPE procurement went through the same assurance process. Due diligence has been carried out on every contract and Ministers have no involvement in deciding who is awarded contracts.’
The Government now faces possible legal action over the contract. The Good Law Project, which is investigating how coronavirus contracts were awarded, said details of the deal were only disclosed after it wrote to the Government.
In a pre-action letter to the Government, the Good Law Project’s lawyers said Mr Jassal is not a director or shareholder of PDL but he has twice stood as an MP and has met the Prime Minister on a number of occasions.
The Good Law Project is ‘seriously and legitimately concerned’ the decision to award the contract ‘was influenced by the involvement of Mr Jassal’ or that it may have been a ‘relevant consideration’ or even that it ‘unlawfully advantaged’ PDL in its discussions with the Government relative to other potential suppliers.
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