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Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 3:35 pm on 26th April 2021.

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Photo of Michael Gove Michael Gove Minister for the Cabinet Office and Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster 3:35 pm, 26th April 2021

I am grateful to the hon. Lady for raising a number of issues. She raised the whole question of procurement of PPE. It is a well attested fact that less than 0.5% of the PPE procured did not meet the standards that we had set out. It is a fact that every single recommendation for the procurement of PPE went through an independent eight-stage process verified by independent civil servants. It is the case that the Government, operating at a time when the pandemic was raging, did everything possible—we make no apology for it—to ensure that those at the frontline got the equipment that they deserved. The techniques that we used and the processes that we followed not only stand up to scrutiny; the same techniques and the same processes were used by the Welsh Government, the Scottish Government and the Northern Ireland Executive.

The hon. Lady raises the Greensill question. Of course, the truth is that all the efforts on behalf of that company in order to push the Treasury and others were rejected. She raises the issue of Sir James Dyson. She does not acknowledge the fact that Sir James spent millions of pounds of his own money to try to ensure that we had ventilators to save those on the frontline. She does not mention that the ventilator challenge was investigated by the Public Accounts Committee, which said it was a model of public procurement. She does not mention the fact that the changes to the Prime Minister’s flat were paid for by the Prime Minister himself, and she repeats a line from a newspaper but ignores the fact that the Prime Minister instituted not only a second but a third lockdown to keep us safe.

What the hon. Lady does not mention is that she and other Opposition Members criticised the appointment of a vaccine tsar as cronyism when Kate Bingham has been responsible for saving millions of lives. What she does not say is that Opposition MPs criticised Kate Bingham for spending money on public relations when that money was there to ensure that people from black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds were able to get the vaccines they required. What she does not acknowledge is the determined effort by public servants in this Government and others to deal with a pandemic and to save lives. Instead, she tries to score political points in a way that, sadly, causes regret.