The Times has reported that Randox, the diagnostics company that paid Owen Paterson as a lobbyist, won a £133 million Covid-19 testing contract days before government officials concluded that it did not have enough equipment.
Paterson, 65, the Conservative MP who resigned last week, was found to have committed “egregious” breaches of lobbying rules in his work for Randox and Lynn’s Country Foods between November 2016 and February last year, just before the pandemic.
There are still numerous questions over how Randox gained the contracts worth roughly half a billion pounds, many awarded without tender, over the past year and a half. The Times reports that the Department of Health and Social Care has refused to release minutes of a phone call in spring 2020, between Paterson and Lord Bethell, the Tory peer who was the minister responsible for testing contracts at the time. Documents reveal that civil servants were scrambling to compensate for shortfalls in Randox’s equipment.
Full story in The Times, 7 November 2021