A SENIOR lobbyist who secretly served as an adviser to a Tory health minister for months sent sensitive lockdown information to clients, it has been reported.

The Sunday Times revealed that former journalist George Pascoe-Watson – the chairman of lobbying firm Portland Communications, which represents pharmaceutical firms, weapons manufacturers and banks – was appointed on April 9.

He advised the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) and was involved in daily discussions chaired by test and trace minister Lord Bethell – as well as communication strategy meetings with Matt Hancock and test and trace chief Dido Harding.

Despite serving in the unpaid role for six months, Pascoe-Watson’s appointment was never announced publicly. He held the position until October 7.

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On October 15, he emailed Portland clients to say he had been "privately advised" restrictions in London launched that day would continue until spring 2021, before adding: "Decision-makers have told me personally."

Two weeks later, Portland partners informed clients that the Prime Minister was mulling over a nationwide lockdown – and that he was likely to “announce next week that he is prepared to ‘sacrifice November to save December’”. That was three days before details leaked to the press hit the front pages, sparking an inquiry in Number 10.

The Sunday Times reports that civil servants raised concerns about Pasco-Watson’s role – and he wasn’t the only lobbyist working in secret for the Government.

Former Tory party chairman Lord Feldman also held an unannounced role advising Bethell between March and May.

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Deputy Labour leader Angela Rayner has called for an inquiry into the appointments, describing them as an “insult to the British people”.

The former standards in public life committee chairman, Alistair Graham, said the revelations were “incomprehensible”. He told the Sunday Times: “I think the public interest requires that appointments to public office should go through a public process.”

Pascoe-Watson said in a statement provided to the PA news agency he had stepped down from his unpaid role by mutual agreement on October 7.

He added: "The information shared with clients on October 15 and 29 was in no way connected to the Test and Trace calls, in which I was no longer a participant."

The DHSC said: “We have drawn on the expertise of a number of private sector partners who provided advice and expertise to assist in vital work.”

Whitehall officials told the Sunday Times that Pascoe-Watson had no warning of the second lockdown, which was not discussed formally until after the October 29 email was sent.