BORIS JOHNSON and Matt Hancock are being sued over claims they hired their ‘mates’ for top coronavirus jobs.
The legal challenge, submitted to the High Court, accuses the prime minister and health secretary of discrimination against other potential candidates by offering major roles to inexperienced pals without any competition.
It singles out the hiring in May of Baroness Dido Harding to run the test and trace scheme, the decision to make Kate Bingham head of the UK’s vaccine task force and the choice of Mike Coupe as the boss of testing.
In August Baroness Harding, also a Tory peer, was further appointed head of the UK’s new National Institute for Health Protection.
Calling for a judicial review of the hires, the Good Law Project and race equality think-tank the Runnymede Trust described Ms Bingham and Baroness Harding as ‘both the wives of senior Conservative politicians, with no significant experience in public health’. Ex-Sainsbury’s boss Mr Coupe is named as ‘a former colleague of Ms Harding’ who ran ‘a large grocery business’.
Campaigners say rules were not followed and the jobs were not publicly advertised and are unpaid, so only those born with ‘a silver spoon in their mouth’ could take them.
They also say the ‘jobs for their mates’ breach the Equality Act 2010 against people who are not white or who are disabled.