Confusion is continuing over why the UK failed to become involved in the EU’s equipment scheme, with the British Government denying suggestions that they rejected any involvement for political reasons. Matt Hancock (above), the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, said that the UK was now involved in the scheme and it hadn’t previously joined due to confusion with communications.
Sir Simon McDonald, the Permanent Secretary to the Foreign Office, was forced to apologise after earlier on in the day saying that the decision was political because the Government hadn’t wanted to become involved with an EU scheme. However, despite the Government’s clarifications, the BBC has reported that the EU said that the UK had a clear opportunity to take part in the scheme.
Jonathan Ashworth, the Shadow Secretary of Health and Social Care, said in a statement:
“First we were told the Government missed an email invitation to join the EU procurement scheme. Then we were told the decision not to take part was a political decision. Now we are told that the Government did sign up to the scheme. This is not a trivial matter. Ministers needs to explain what has happened and who is speaking for the Government on this matter.”
Chris Bryant, the Labour MP for Rhondda, posted on Twitter calling for a inquiry by the Foreign Affairs Committee:
“The committee should ask for a point by point calendar of events because others who were at cobra meetings have different accounts”.