Michael Gove broke law over crony contract
The High Court has ruled that the Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove broke the law by acting with ‘apparent bias’ in handing a £560,000 public contract to long-time associates of his and Dominic Cummings at communications agency Public First, in a case brought by the Good Law Project.
Ministers have always claimed there was no favouritism – bias as lawyers call it – in the awarding of vast public contracts during the Covid pandemic. However, the High Court found:
‘The existence of personal connections between the Defendant (Michael Gove), Mr Cummings and the directors of Public First was a relevant circumstance that might be perceived to compromise their impartiality and independence in the context of a public procurement.’ (paragraph 147)
The judge continued:
‘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)