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Matt Hancock’s neighbour denies NHS cronyism claim saying ‘I know I’ve done nothing wrong’

Matt Hancock‘s neighbour has denied cronyism helped him secure a £40million NHS Test and Trace contract.

Alex Bourne, a former pub landlord, denied he was given the contract after sending a WhatsApp to the disgraced former Health Secretary.

The pair’s exchanges via email from March last year were revealed by the Mail On Sunday in June.

In them, Mr Bourne asks Mr Hancock for a contract for his food and drink manufacturing company to make PPE for the NHS.

His company was referred by Mr Hancock for a contract just three hours later but Mr Bourne denies it was aided by his relationship to the former Health Secretary, saying: ‘I know I’ve done nothing wrong.’ 

It comes after Mr Hancock admitted he had ‘blown up every part of my life’ after he was caught on CCTV cheating on his wife with his most senior aide. 

The ex-health secretary was caught on camera passionately kissing his married aide and millionaire lobbyist Gina Coladangelo against the door of his Whitehall office in June.

He lost his job when it emerged they were seeing each other despite her being his aide and them breaking social distancing rules that Mr Hancock had created.

Matt Hancock’s neighbour Alex Bourne (pictured together) has denied cronyism helped him secure a £40million NHS Test and Trace contract

He denied he was given the contract after sending a WhatsApp to the disgraced former Health Secretary (pictured on Wednesday)

He denied he was given the contract after sending a WhatsApp to the disgraced former Health Secretary (pictured on Wednesday)

‘I’ve blown up every part of my life’: Shamed Matt Hancock apologises again 

Shamed Matt Hancock has admitted he had ‘blown up every part of my life’ after he was caught on CCTV cheating on his wife with his most senior aide. 

The ex-health secretary was caught on camera passionately kissing his married aide and millionaire lobbyist Gina Coladangelo against the door of his Whitehall office in June.

He lost his job when it emerged they were seeing each other despite her being his aide and them breaking social distancing rules that Mr Hancock had created.

In his first interview since quitting as health secretary and losing his wife over the affair, Mr Hancock apologised again to those he had hurt and admitted he had ‘let people down’.

Speaking to ITV political editor Robert Peston on his show, Mr Hancock said: ‘Well, as you can imagine, the first thing that I focused on was my personal life, and then I focused on my professional responsibilities, and I decided that I had to resign.

‘I had blown up every part of my life and I concentrated on my personal life first as you can probably imagine. It was the right thing to do.’  

The Tory MP was exposed in June cheating on his wife Martha after he was caught kissing Ms Coladangelo, who he had appointed as an adviser, in his private office, breaching the social distancing guidelines that he had established. 

Mr Hancock tried to ride out the political storm over his flagrant breaches of Covid-19 regulations and his marital infidelity but was eventually forced to resign. 

When asked on the ITV’s Peston whether he was surprised Boris Johnson did not sack him, Mr Hancock said: ‘I’m not going to go into the conversations that I had with the Prime Minister.

‘I made the decision [to resign], it was clearly right decision. And I just say, sorry again for the failure of… I let a lot of people down and I’m sorry to the people who I hurt.’ 

Former army officer Mr Bourne denied his firm’s Government contract had any connection to Mr Hancock in a new documentary.

He told the BBC: ‘I got his phone number from a former neighbour of his and simply sent a text message.

‘I introduced myself in full because… I hadn’t spoken to him by that stage in probably three years. 

‘And he simply kindly replied and said, “Please send the details of this to my Parliamentary email address”, which I did.’

Mr Bourne, whose firm Hinpack Limited manufactured cups and cartons for the catering industry before the pandemic struck, has been friends with Mr Hancock for many years.

The Minister was a regular visitor to the Cock Inn pub Mr Bourne used to run, which is a few hundred yards from the MP’s former constituency home in Suffolk. 

In December, a company called Alpha Laboratories was given a £40.4million contact to manufacture swab sample collection tubes for the NHS.

The work was subcontracted to Hinpack Limited — but only after Mr Bourne contacted Alpha Laboratories himself, he claimed. 

He said his company had already invested millions in switching to medical manufacturing prior to its involvement with Alpha Laboratories.

Mr Bourne also denied he and Mr Hancock were friends. 

His email exchange with Mr Hancock prior to the deal was revealed by the Mail On Sunday in June.

In his first message sent on March 30, 2020, Mr Bourne focused on ‘Surgical Mask Manufacturing’ — despite having no experience of supplying medical equipment.

‘Dear Matt. Good to hear you again and glad you are full of beans!’ he wrote. ‘You and your department are doing a fine job and we’re all very grateful to you for steering us through these difficult times with such a level head.’ 

He then outlined how his firm might be able to assist the department: ‘By way of introduction, Hinpack is a company I own and run and we specialise in food and drink packaging made from biodegradable feedstock. 

‘We manufacture as well as distribute so understand simple manufacturing processes and distribution such as those involved in making surgical face masks.’

He added: ‘I’m not looking to make my fortune from this and will work at cost supplying this product to the NHS and allied government professions. 

‘If you are stuck for PPE and supply is not coping — we can make this happen very quickly.’

Three hours later, Mr Hancock referred the message to Jonathan Marron, the then director general of community and social care at the Department of Health, writing: ‘This one is for domestic production.’ 

The messages allude to other contacts between the two men, including telephone conversations. 

On June 15, 2020, Mr Bourne thanked his friend ‘for your time the other day’. They also reveal Mr Bourne switched from masks to testing.

On June 30, following further contact between them, he sent Mr Hancock a three-page message headed ‘Antigen Testing Problems/Solutions’ in which he complained about the ‘highly problematic’ procurement process he thought placed too much emphasis on what companies had done as opposed to what they could do in the future. 

On August 25, Mr Bourne accepted an invitation to join Mr Hancock, the Prime Minister and other suppliers in a virtual Zoom session on ‘manufacturing support for increased testing’.


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