BORIS Johnson’s government has been engulfed by fresh accusations of cronyism and corruption over the dishing out of coronavirus contracts.

One of the Prime Minister’s longest-serving advisers approved a £187 million taxpayer-backed loan for a property developer he was being paid by, it has been reported.

The Sunday Times said Lord Udny-Lister authorised the loan made by Homes England, the affordable housing agency he was chairing, for Delancey in 2019.

The report follows hot on the heels of accusations made against senior UK Government ministers Priti Patel and Matt Hancock.

Lord Udney-Lister, who left Downing Street earlier this year, was quoted by the newspaper as saying: "I apologise for not taking sufficient steps to prevent any perception of a conflict."

A Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government spokesman added: "We introduced the £3.5 billion Private Rented Sector Guarantee Scheme and made changes to the National Planning Policy Framework to support additional new build private rented homes.

"The loan for the programme was raised in the bond market, supported by the Government's guarantee rather than with taxpayer's money, ensuring good value for money. Proper process was followed at all times."

Labour’s David Lammy wrote on social media: “The sleazy, grubby, double-dealing @Conservatives have rotten government to its core.”

Meanwhile, Hancock personally intervened to help a disgraced former Conservative minister secure a PPE deal worth £180 million, according to a separate Sunday Times report.

The Health Secretary assisted Brooks Newmark, who resigned just months after being made minister for civil society in 2014 after he was exposed as having sent sexually explicit photographs to a male journalist posing as a 20-year-old Tory party activist.

Last May, Newmark joined forced with the owner of a dog food company who had set up a firm to broker PPE deals for international manufacturers.

A Freedom of Information request for National Audit Office emails show that later that month he lobbied the Government on behalf of a Hong Kong firm. After a series of email exchanges with Hancock and his senior aides, the company won a £178 million contract in June to supply millions of pairs of goggles to the NHS.

The National: Health Secretary Matt Hancock said it was "brilliant" to get his first coronavirus vaccine (Kirsty Wigglesworth/PA)

READ MORE: Priti Patel accused of 'glaring' breach of ministerial code in PPE lobbying row

Hancock defended his conduct in an interview with Andrew Marr earlier.

He said: “Of course when someone approaches the Health Secretary in the middle of a pandemic when you are desperately short of PPE it is perfectly reasonable for the Health Secretary to then send on the email and say ''can we have a look at this?’ “I didn't have anything to do with the signing of any of these contracts … I wanted it to be looked at and by the way, 90 million goggles later I'm glad that I did.”

It comes after Patel was accused of a "flagrant breach" of the ministerial code by lobbying a fellow minister in an attempt to secure a healthcare firm access to a personal protective equipment (PPE) deal said to be worth £20m.

Labour has urged Cabinet Secretary Simon Case to investigate the Home Secretary over efforts to sway the award of a contract after being approached by a Tory activist.

Patel attempted to apply pressure to Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove in May last year during efforts to secure the contract for Pharmaceuticals Direct Limited (PDL).

Her efforts failed after Health Secretary Hancock said the masks were "not suitable for the NHS", according to disclosure in a legal case.

But PDL was awarded a £102.7 million contract weeks later in July to provide a different type of mask, during which Samir Jassal was also the contact.

Jassal has stood as a Conservative candidate at two general elections and has met Boris Johnson and David Cameron.

A spokesman for Patel stated: "The Home Secretary rightly followed up representations made to her about the vital supply of PPE.

"During a time of national crisis, failure to do so would have been a dereliction of duty."

However, Labour urged the Cabinet Secretary to investigate Patel in a letter signed by deputy leader Angela Rayner and shadow home secretary Nick Thomas-Symonds.

They said there is "no evidence that the Home Secretary had any interest" in the PPE deal until contacted by Jassal, suggesting she did it "as a favour to her friend".

"This would represent a glaring and flagrant breach of the ministerial code," they concluded.