The UK had “ample opportunity” to join an EU procurement scheme for medical supplies, including PPE and ventilators, but failed to do so, the European Commission has said.
The statement directly contradicts claims from the UK government that it had not joined the scheme because of a communication mix-up. Yesterday, the foreign office’s top civil servant claimed the UK made a “political decision” to not join the procurement programme, but Health Secretary Matt Hancock later said no such decision had been made.
Here’s what the EU Commission said, via the Sun‘s Brussels correspondent Nick Gutteridge:
…so the UK was as all other members of the HSC aware of the work that was ongoing and had ample opportunity to express its wish to participate in a Joint Procurement if it wanted to do so. As to why it did not participate this is obviously something on which we cannot comment.’
— Nick Gutteridge (@nick_gutteridge) April 22, 2020