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Friend of Tortoise Exclusive

Is covid cover for corruption?

Is covid cover for corruption?

This event is exclusive to Friends of Tortoise

Dan Carden, Labour MP for Liverpool Walton, effectively accused the government of using covid as a cover for corruption in the Commons in October. He said, “under the cover of the pandemic, billions of public money is being handed to faceless corporations, including Tory-linked firms, without competition or transparency, without democratic accountability, or any accountability for that matter to the public.” He went on to point to the fact that John Penrose, the government’s anti-corruption chief, is married to Dido Harding, the Conservative Baroness who has been widely criticised for her handling of Test and Trace.

The pandemic has revealed a so-called “chumocracy” at the heart of Number 10. But is it sinister and deliberate or, given the need to make huge decisions quickly throughout the pandemic, is it understandable that the government turned first to known and trusted relationships? Is the “chumocracy” a failure of governance or integrity, or both?

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Editors and experts

Ceri Thomas

Daniel Bruce
Transparency International. Daniel joined Transparency International UK as Chief Executive in October 2019. He is an experienced senior leader in international charities, previously serving as Chief Executive of the press freedom and media development organisation Internews.

Jakob Riis
CEO of Falck, a market leader in emergency response and healthcare services. Falck works closely with industry leaders, colleagues and local partners in 30 countries worldwide.

Tom Burgis
Award-winning investigative reporter. Based in London after years as a foreign correspondent in South America and Africa, he is a long-standing member of the Financial Times’ investigations team. He has exposed major corruption scandals, covered terrorist attacks, coups and forgotten conflicts, and traced dirty money from the Kremlin to Washington.