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Penny Mordaunt rejects Labor call for inquiry into lobbying and purchasing during Covid pandemic

Penny Mordaunt on Tuesday rejected opposition calls for a judge-led review in Covid’s lobbying line, as she insisted the public did not accept Labor’s ‘line of attack’ on the alleged cronyism of the government. The Cabinet Office minister responded to requests for a new investigation into lobbying, purchasing and conflict of interest during the pandemic, highlighting the series of investigations already underway. “I don’t think we need more scrutiny,” she said, blaming the opposition MPs’ allegations against the government for “speculation, innuendo and slander”. Her intervention came in response to an urgent question posed by Angela Rayner, who made her debut as the Phantom Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster in the chamber. Questioning the delay in the publication of the register of ministerial interests, which was due out last December, the Labor leader accused ministers of acting “as the rules are for others”. She made claims against Boris Johnson, Home Secretary Priti Patel and Health Secretary Matt Hancock. Adopting a shrill tone during the Commons showdown, as she was applauded by Tory backbenchers, Ms Mordaunt said the public was interested in the standards of public life, but considered the criticisms raised. in the Commons during the urgent question “like a load of flannel”. She added that Labor accused Tory ministers of going into politics for personal gain, but concluded: “It does not attract public attention because it is not plausible.” SNP MP Joanna Cherry has raised demand for a judge-led investigation into lobbying, government procurement and “conflicts” between ministries and the civil service during the pandemic. She should have the power to order the production of evidence and take evidence under oath, she added. Ms Mordaunt replied, “My personal opinion is that I don’t think we need more reviews. We have the Standards Committee, we have the House authorities, we have the Boardman review, we all have this work examining all of the issues that MPs have raised this afternoon. Earlier, Ms Rayner said: “The departmental code is clear that there must be ‘no misuse of taxpayer money’ or ” real or perceived conflicts of interest. ”“ But time and time again ministers act like the rules are for others. ”Last year he declared £ 15,000 to a Tory donor for his shady jet trip to a private island. This weekend we read that the real cost was double and paid for by someone else in full. “People may ask why this is important. It is important because it goes to the very heart of our business. democracy. “

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