More Tory cronyism? The Health Secretary’s husband’s company won £24M in government contracts during the pandemic
- Gillian Keegan’s husband Michael has been accused of ‘pal contracts’
- The Cabinet Office hit back at claims, insisting Mr Keegan has “no role” in contracts
- The company he works for received 17 government contracts from 2019 to 2020
Fresh allegations of Tory nepotism emerged today when it was revealed millions of taxpayers’ money were handed over to the company of a health secretary’s husband.
Michael Keegan, 60, who is married to Secretary of State for Nursing and Mental Health Gillian Keegan, sits on the board of IT firm Centerprise International.
However, he is also a Cabinet Office representative responsible for closing deals with suppliers who work with the Department of Defense, it has been claimed.
Centerprise International were awarded 17 government contracts worth £24million from October 2019 to May 2020, The Sun revealed.
But the Cabinet Office hit back at the claims, insisting Mr Keegan played “no role” in awarding contracts.
Michael Keegan (right), 60, husband of Secretary of State for Nursing and Mental Health Gillian Keegan (left), holds a board position at IT firm Centerprise International
A spokesman said: “We have a clear conflicts of interest process which ensures that all conflicts are identified and formally recorded and this protects our procurement and business processes.
“Mr. Keegan is responsible for managing the relationship between the government and BAE Systems.
“He plays no role in awarding contracts to suppliers and has explained his position at Centerprise as part of the Cabinet Office’s conflict of interest process.”
The spokesman added that Mr Keegan “has agreed to withdraw from all talks regarding public procurement”.
Mr Keegan took up his role as Crown Representative in September 2019.
Crown representatives are private sector leaders brought to the heart of government to offer their expertise to deliver value for taxpayers.
A spokesman for Centerprise, based in Hampshire, told The National: “Please note that there is no connection between Michael Keegan’s role as non-executive director of Centerprise International and his appointment as Crown Representative.
“Crown Representatives have no role in awarding business to suppliers and his role at Centerprise was fully disclosed prior to the appointment.
‘All MOD contracts awarded to Centerprise International have been completed through appropriate Crown Commercial Services frameworks. History has no faith.’
Shadow Defense Secretary John Healey told The Sun: “This smacks of buddy contracts at the heart of defense procurement.
“The protection of British armed forces and women is the most important duty of every Defense Secretary.
“Our British troops and taxpayers deserve better.”
Similar accusations of nepotism have been leveled at the Tory government over PPE deals handed out during the pandemic.