LABOUR have sparked speculation over what they have uncovered about the Tory government after several cryptic developments on Friday morning.

Keir Starmer’s party press office has changed its official Twitter account name to “The GPC Files”, hinting at what the presumably explosive revelations could be.

The logo is a black and white image of a cracking oak tree shedding its leaves, a clear swipe at the Tory Party which uses an oak in full-leaf as its logo.

The National:

Labour have also set up an equally cryptic website – – which also features an oak tree shedding its leaves. Underneath is a countdown timer, which is set to expire at 7am on Monday morning.

The changes have left people asking what a GPC is, and what Labour may have uncovered.

What is a GPC?

“GPC” in the context of the UK Government most likely refers to “government procurement card”. These are a Visa-based purchasing and payments system – essentially a company card – that the government can use to pay for all goods and services, irrespective of value.

They are the government’s “recommended method of purchasing and paying for goods or services under £20,000”.

Government departments routinely publish details of GPC spends of more than £500.

According to the Crown Commercial Service, there are three types of GPC: physical, lodge and virtual.

Physical cards refers to the plastic card issued to a specific person within a department. Lodge cards are embedded into a supplier’s system, and virtual cards are a randomly-generated card number associated with a physical GPC which can be used once or multiple times.

The GPC programme is offered by American Express, Barclaycard, JP Morgan, and RBS through the Central Government GPC Framework.

The National Audit Office said that the UK Government spent £322 million using GPCs in 2010-11.

What have Labour discovered?

The million-pound question that the party are, for now, keeping quiet. However, there may be a hint in the written questions submitted by Labour Shadow Attorney General Emily Thornberry.

Thornberry has, parliamentary records show, been quizzing various UK Government departments on their use of GPCs in recent weeks.

Using written questions, the Labour MP has asked questions of the Cabinet Office, Health Department, Foreign Office, and Transport Office about the use of GPCs – even uncovering one incident of a fraudulent transaction at jeweller Fraser Hart.

Whatever the story proves to be, Labour have to be pretty confident it will be significant to have put this amount of effort into the build-up ...