Keir Starmer has declared that the £670,000 PR bill of vaccine taskforce head Kate Bingham, revealed over the weekend, “cannot be justified” at a time when people across the country are losing their incomes amid the coronavirus crisis.
The Labour leader’s comments followed a report by The Sunday Times uncovering that vaccine tsar Bingham, married to Conservative minister Jesse Norman, had run up a significant bill on highly-paid relations consultants.
The biochemist appointed by Boris Johnson as chair of the UK vaccine taskforce reportedly “insisted” on hiring a team of eight full-time consultants each being paid the equivalent of £167,000 a year to oversee her media strategy.
Commenting on the news during his LBC phone-in session ‘Call Keir’ this morning, Starmer said: “That can’t be justified… You cannot justify that sort of money being spent.” He remarked that “if only” this was the sole example of such spending by the government.
Shadow Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster Rachel Reeves has asked for a swift investigation, and said over the weekend: “People don’t want to see huge sums of public money needlessly sprayed on spin doctors or management consultants.