The government’s use of a so-called VIP lane to award PPE contracts to two companies during the first COVID wave was unlawful, the High Court has ruled.

The challenge was brought by campaign groups the Good Law Project and EveryDoctor who argued the bid process conferred preferential treatment on those with political connections.

The judgment adds to the pressure on Boris Johnson and his government as it battles a series of sleaze allegations – with Labour claiming there is a “cash for access” culture within the Tory party.

The PM’s personal conduct is taking centre stage in Westminster this afternoon as he faces MPs for the first time since claims emerged that he and his wife Carrie attended a Downing Street garden drinks party during the first lockdown.

Labour’s deputy leader Angela Rayner has told Sky News that his position is “completely untenable”.

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