Boris Johnson has congratulated outgoing government vaccine taskforce chief Kate Bingham on her efforts just days after being embroiled in a spending scandal.
It was revealed by the Sunday Times that Bingham, who is married to Tory minister Jesse Norman, had spent £670,000 of public money on PR advisers from a boutique company since being appointed to the role in May.
The contracts for the PR advisers span until the end of this year when she is expected to step down from the role.
It has also been reported by the Financial Times that Bingham is close associates with the father-in-law of Johnson’s top aide Dominic Cummings.
Labour has called for Cabinet Secretary Simon Case to investigate Bingham’s spending record while in the public sector job.
Johnson tweeted his congratulations today to Bingham about her role in procuring future units of Pfizer and BioNTech’s trial vaccine, which could be approved by UK regulators this year.
“Huge thanks to Kate Bingham and the vaccine taskforce for all their fantastic work in securing 40m doses of the Pfizer and BioNTech vaccine and over 300m doses of other promising vaccine candidates,” he said.
Darren Jones, Labour MP and parliament’s business committee chair, called for Bingham to resign in the House of Commons today.
Business secretary Alok Sharma responded by also pouring praise on the work of the vaccine taskforce.
“The vaccines taskforce…has done an absolutely brilliant job over the last few months,” he said.
“We were the first country in the world to secure access to that particular vaccine candidate.
“We have managed to secure 350m doses over six of the most promising vaccine candidates.”