It has emerged that Matt Hancock failed to declare his interest in the company Topwood to parliamentary authorities for more than two months and had never previously declared his family’s longstanding involvement with it.
“It is now clear this Conservative government has been infected with widespread cronyism and is unable to identify where the line is drawn between personal and departmental interests. It’s one rule for them, another for everybody else,” said the shadow health minister Justin Madders.
Documents lodged with Companies House show that on 1 February a minority stake in the firm was transferred to Hancock. According to a report on the Guido Fawkes blog, the firm won contracts with the NHS in Wales the following month, though this is not the responsibility of the UK government.
It was not until 12 April that Hancock declared his interest in the firm.
Lord Kerslake said there needed to be enforceable rules to govern interactions between the public and private sectors. “But it’s also about principles. We do have the Nolan principles of public life and they are a pretty good guide to how you should behave”.
“Even if you fit within the rules technically, ask yourself the question do you meet those principles and it’s hard to see how what’s happened here meets those principles.”
Kerslake called for a “proper investigation” and added: “There is a place for unpaid advisers and some have been very helpful. But it has to be completely transparent and above board and no question whatsoever of conflict. I think here we can see the significant issues of conflict and it is very odd indeed that [Greensill] seems to have been given a business card without being clear on the process.”
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