TEN Tory politicians helped companies get access to the UK Government’s “VIP lane” during the coronavirus pandemic, it has been revealed.

A leaked document published by Politico shows the Tory politicians helped 47 firms secure £1.6 billion in public funds. 

Among them is Tory peer and businesswoman Michelle Mone. She referred Medpro through the VIP channel, a company which went on to win contracts worth £200 million.

Anthony Paige, one of Medpro’s director’s, was a former secretary for MGM media – the company that manages Mone’s personal brand.

READ MORE: Covid: Watchdog forces Tories to name 'VIP lane' PPE firms

He is also a director at Knox House Trust, which is part of the Knox Group run by Mone’s husband Douglas Barrowman.

A lawyer for the couple told The Guardian last year that they had no role in the awarding of the PPE Medpro contracts, despite Mone being listed as a referee on the Government list.

Joining Mone on the list is the former chair of the Conservative Party, Andrew Feldman, who helped several firms secure lucrative contracts throughout the Covid pandemic.

The politician, who used to play tennis with former prime minister David Cameron, recommended three successful firms for the fast lane.

The contracts are worth £50m and are on top of the previously revealed work to secure contracts for Bunzl Healthcare, a client of his lobbying company Tulchan.

At the start of the Covid pandemic, the UK Government’s “VIP lane” fast-tracked certain companies to speed up the procurement of personal protective equipment (PPE).

It meant MPs, Lords and senior government officials could help secure PPE by recommending firms, meaning they would skip the usual anti-corruption checks.

The National: Former health secretary Matt Hancock is among those to have referred companies to the VIP laneFormer health secretary Matt Hancock is among those to have referred companies to the VIP lane

Disgraced former health secretary Matt Hancock also helped secure work for four firms while former Downing Street aide Dominic Cummings helped one business.

Michael Gove recommended Meller Designs, a firm run by Tory donor David Meller, to the VIP lane.

The company subsequently won contracts worth nearly £160m.

READ MORE: Tory MP Siobhan Baillie denies claims she referred PPE suppliers to ‘VIP’ lane

MPs Julian Lewis, Steve Brine, Esther McVey and Andrew Percy were also among the Tory politicians to refer companies to the VIP lane.

Lord Agnew also makes the list, referring Wordlink Resources to the UK VIP lane. The company is advised by former MP Brooks Newmark and landed a £258m deal.

Agnew also referred one of the largest beneficiaries of Covid procurement, Uniserve.

The firm was awarded £304m in PPE contracts through the VIP lane, while receiving £572m to handle PPE logistics. Uniserve has also been paid more than £124m to store excess PPE, around £1m per day.

Jo Maugham, director of Good Law Project, said: "We can at last see, in relation to the £12.5bn spent on PPE, the vast financial rewards you could reap if you had a Minister looking out for your interests.

"There was no good reason - but there were obvious bad reasons - for the Government to keep the public in the dark about these links.

"We now need some transparency about the equivalent VIP lane for Test and Trace contracts, on which £37bn of public money was spent.

"Now is the time for the Fourth Estate to show its mettle and get stuck in, investigating any transactions that have hallmarks of out-and-out corruption."

Commenting, the SNP's Cabinet Office spokesperson Brendan O'Hara MP said: "The Tory government's approach of handling multi-billion-pound Covid contracts has been driven by rampant cronyism.

"Throughout the pandemic we have witnessed staggering sums of taxpayers' money being gifted to Tory donors, friends and contacts without due process or scrutiny.

"Further revelations of Tory peers like Michelle Mone and Andrew Feldman, MPs and senior party figures helping firms they are linked to get their hands on hundreds of millions of pounds of public money raises serious questions that the Tory government cannot continue to ignore.

"Cronyism, sleaze and corruption is thriving under Boris Johnson's government.

READ MORE: Jacob Rees-Mogg claims he told Boris Johnson to defend Owen Paterson in sleaze row

"The SNP has consistently made clear that there must be a full public inquiry into the process of Covid contracts.

"The UK government must not be allowed to dodge scrutiny over its handling of taxpayers' money."

A UK Government spokesperson said: “At the height of the pandemic there was a desperate need for PPE to protect health and social care staff and the Government rightly took swift and decisive action to secure it.

“Ministers were not involved in awarding contracts.”

The full list of companies who benefitted from the VIP lane for PPE contracts can be found here: https://goodlawproject.org/47-companies/