Your editorial and Jesse Norman's letter in the Hereford Times last week make some very valid points about the work undertaken by Kate Bingham. Kate Bingham seems to have achieved more in her short temporary job, than the rest of the Cabinet and those given Government contracts put together. I also suspect that she probably was the 'stand out' candidate and would likely to have been selected in any case.

However, it seems that both parties have missed the point about how this Government decides on how, and to whom, contracts are awarded.

What is in question is how Kate Bingham's name came to be in front of whoever decided on who got the job of Chair of the VTF. Whether other names were on the list, and how those names were sought in the first place.

Quite clearly, if ministers are asked in the first place for names of likely candidates or for names of providers of PPE it's likely that it will be their 'chums' whose names are forwarded to the contract teams.

It has been known since early January this year that a pandemic was coming and yet no forethought or planning has been undertaken until it was far too late; hence the need to award contracts at short notice; and as a result far more public money has been spent than would otherwise have happened, and in quite a few cases wasted. Indeed had the recommendations contained in the report on Exercise Cygnus in 2016 been acted upon we would have had much more appropriate PPE available at the start of the pandemic.

Instead we find ourselves totally unprepared and having to rely on catch-up.

Tony Jarvis