Carol Vorderman’s campaign against the Tories suffered a setback today after the ex-Countdown host climbed down from a row with the party’s chairman Greg Hands. Vorderman sent a number of tweets earlier this year over Hands’ alleged involvement in the awarding of a £25 million PPE contract. But Vorderman has now issued a statement appearing to back down from her earlier claims. She wrote on Twitter:
‘I’m happy to accept Mr Hands’ assurance that his role in the process was simply to refer the approach to the JACT, and that there was no impropriety on his part.’
Hands told Mr S he is ‘delighted’ the tweets were removed but called on Vorderman to go further and say sorry.
The row erupted after emails emerged from Mark Higton – a former chairman of the Hammersmith Conservatives – to Hands with information about supplying ventilators and PPE during the height of the Covid pandemic. Hands passed on the message to the Joint Action Coordination Team (JACT), which was set up by the Department for Health and the Foreign Office and tasked with sourcing medical equipment, with the message: ‘See below to check out please.’
Hands told Mr S:
‘With that, my involvement ended. The email was passed to procurement professionals in the Department for Health who determined what equipment was needed, what was paid for it, and whether to award any contracts. It would have been equally negligent of me to ignore the offer and improper to have any further involvement. I had little reason to believe at the time that three years later, forwarding this email would lead to a dispute with Vorderman.’