'No conflict' as MP revealed to hold shares in sister's firm awarded NHS contracts
- Credit: PA
A government spokesman has insisted health secretary Matt Hancock acted properly following reports the Suffolk MP held a 15% share in his sister's waste disposal company, which won two NHS Wales paper shredding contracts last month.
The latest register of MP's interests revealed that Mr Hancock owned shares under a “delegated management arrangement” in Topwood Ltd, which was awarded two £150,000 contracts last month, according to reports.
Responsibility for NHS Wales is devolved to the country's government – and the Department of Health responded by stating that all declarations of interest had been made in accordance with the ministerial code.
But the Health Service Journal (HSJ) found that Topwood had secured a place on the NHS Shared Business Services framework in 2019, to provide services to the NHS in England, as well as its contracts in Wales, but that Mr Hancock had not declared an association in published ministerial interests declarations of recent years.
Shadow Health and Social Care Secretary Jonathan Ashworth responded to initial HSJ reports by tweeting: "Shocking but sadly I suspect no one is surprised any more at the cronyism at the heart of this government."
According to Companies House, one of the directors of the firm is Mr Hancock's older sister, Emily Gilruth.
The Department of Health and Social Care told the HSJ that all declarations of interest had been made in accordance with the ministerial code and that neither Mr Hancock nor the department had any role in contract awards, and no active involvement in the company.
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It is also understood that Mr Hancock discussed the gift of shares in the firm with the permanent secretary before accepting.