ACCUSATIONS of corruption against the UK Government have intensified after a Tory minister said officials have been “unable to locate” minutes of talks between a health minister, Randox and disgraced former MP Owen Paterson.

The opposition want to force Boris Johnson’s administration into releasing a record of meetings between ministers, officials and the diagnostics company amid concerns over how nearly £600 million of Covid testing contracts were awarded to the firm.

Randox is the firm which employed Paterson, the former Tory cabinet minister who resigned as an MP during the Westminster sleaze row, as a consultant.

The meeting at the heart of Labour’s request took place on April 9, 2020, and involved then-minister Lord Bethell, Randox and Paterson.

At Prime Minister’s Questions, Boris Johnson said he was “very happy to publish all the details of the Randox contracts, which have been investigated by the National Audit Office already”.

READ MORE: Boris Johnson 'basically admits reforms wouldn't prevent Tory sleaze scandals'

Health minister Gillian Keegan later echoed the Government’s desire to review the information it holds and publish what is deemed “in scope” of Labour’s request, but prompted a furious reaction by disclosing the lack of a formal note related to the conference call.

Labour deputy leader Angela Rayner suggested the lack of minutes was in breach of the ministerial code.

Speaking in the Commons, LibDem former minister Alistair Carmichael asked Keegan to publish the minutes of the telephone conference call.

Keegan, in her reply, said: “In terms of the minutes, I think we’ve said we will publish things here in the library.”

She later said: “We will review what information is held, that’s in scope, and we will come back to Parliament and deposit them in the libraries of the House. We will commit to do that.”

Pressed further by Labour MP Tony Lloyd on the Randox meeting, Keegan said: “The meeting he refers to was a courtesy call from the minister to Randox to discuss RNA extraction kits.

“That was declared on the ministerial register of calls and meetings, and we have been unable to locate a formal note of that meeting, but all the other notes that are available with regard to this – and that meeting, by the way, was after any contracts were let with Randox.”

READ MORE: Tory 'rebellion has started' with empty seats behind Boris Johnson at PMQs

Raising a point of order, Labour former minister Dame Angela Eagle said the minister had made “astonishing” revelations to MPs about there being “meetings with no minutes that are official, involve Government minister, and she is unable to locate a copy of what is clearly a meeting that happened”.

Another Labour MP shouted: “Staggering.”

Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle said he hoped the ministerial officials would look into this, adding: “I would expect that Government meetings that take place with people around would always be minuted.

“If not, I think it opens up another question and I don’t want that question to be opened up – I’d sooner for it to be answered.”

Opening the debate, Rayner said: “We already know that the former member for North Shropshire [Paterson] broke the rules on lobbying, we already know that Randox was awarded nearly £600 million of taxpayers’ money without a tender.

“We already know that Randox were awarded a second £347 million contract, having failed to deliver on a previous £133 million contract, and we already know this decision was made after a conference call involving the then-member for North Shropshire and the health minister Lord Bethell.

“What we don’t know is what happened in those meetings, who else was present, what was discussed and what was decided?”

The SNP’s Brendan O’Hara said “there has to be full transparency”, arguing: “What we’re seeing now is crony capitalism at its worst”.

He added: “There’s a stench of corruption that is engulfing this Government who now stand accused of making certain well-placed individuals fabulously wealthy during this pandemic, not because of their particular skill or acumen in business, but primarily because of their political connections to the Conservative Party.”