Daily Archives: January 27, 2011

Military police have been called in to examine allegations of improper conduct during bidding for the £6bn privatisation of the search and rescue helicopter service.

It has brought the deal to the brink of collapse.

We’ve broken the story online because the redoubtable Cathy Newman of Channel 4 News has been chasing the same tale. The main elements are:

– MoD police are investigating the access to information given to bidders and the relationship between a military officer, who has since left the forces, and CHC, a Canadian helicopter operator that is part of the Soteria consortium chosen as preferred bidder.

– Royal Bank of Scotland have pulled out of the Soteria consortium because their concerns over the allegations. It will make it much harder for the deal to be revived, even if the concerns over improper conduct prove to be unfounded.

– Ministers are urgently examining options on how to proceed, including re-tendering the contract and scrapping the private finance initiative model altogether.

This is the deal, remember, that so angered Prince William he raised his concerns with the prime minister.

Read on for more details. Read more

On the day the coalition was formed, Michael Gove entered Downing Street with his consigliere Dominic Cummings. Only one of them left with a job.

It was one of the clearest demonstrations of Andy Coulson’s power. On Coulson’s advice, David Cameron offered Gove the position of education secretary on the condition that he sacked Cummings. Gove did not take it well. Read more