ANDREW PIERCE: Kate Bingham will jab the MoD into action at last
Downing Street is abuzz with talk of a peerage for Kate Bingham — the biochemist turned venture capitalist who has masterminded Britain’s world-beating Covid-19 vaccination scheme.
When she took the unpaid post last spring, Boris gave her a simple instruction: ‘Stop people from dying.’
Bingham seems well on the way to achieving that: the latest figures show some 17 per cent of Britons have had their first jab, compared to a pathetic 3.5 per cent across the EU.
Downing Street is abuzz with talk of a peerage for Kate Bingham — the biochemist turned venture capitalist who has masterminded Britain’s world-beating Covid-19 vaccination scheme
Kate Bingham’s husband is Treasury Minister Jesse Norman, pictured far left with Kemi Badenoch, Chancellor Rishi Sunak and Steve Barclay on Budget Day last March
As Joni Mitchell sang, you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone. Now Bingham, who is married to Treasury Minister Jesse Norman and prefers to keep a low profile, is quietly heading back to the City as planned. But don’t fear. My civil service mole tells me there’s already talk of Boris luring back the vaccine fairy godmother with a job at the Ministry of Defence.
Top brass could do with a sprinkle of her stardust: procurement in the MoD has been a shambles for decades. A National Audit Office report last year revealed a hole of up to £17.4 billion in the ministry’s finances.
For the fourth successive year, its equipment plan — covering everything from jet fighters to frigates — has been unaffordable. Flagship aircraft carriers such as HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Prince of Wales, which were delivered late and billions over budget, are now at risk of being unable to operate properly.
My Whitehall source cries: ‘We need Kate Bingham. Boris told her to save lives with the vaccines — now she should go into the MoD and save billions.’
Handforth, the sexy Netflix sequel?
There seems to be no end to the talents of Jackie Weaver, the unlikely heroine of the council’s Zoom room — who wielded total ‘authority’ over the squabbling men attacking her
Could Netflix be poised to grab the rights to the hilarious Handforth council meeting that went viral last week?
Lizzy Talbot, the ‘intimacy co-ordinator’ responsible for the steamy romps on the streaming service’s smash-hit Regency drama Bridgerton, says she is ‘absolutely desperate to physically choreograph the sexual tension in this contentious parish council meeting’.
There seems to be no end to the talents of Jackie Weaver, the unlikely heroine of the council’s Zoom room — who wielded total ‘authority’ over the squabbling men attacking her.
You couldn’t make it up. Keir Starmer was embarrassed by a leaked report which urged him to drape himself in the Union flag and enthusiastically (as an ex-republican) embrace the Royal Family to deal with Labour’s patriotism problem. And who gave the advice? Step forward, ad agency Republic!
Barry’s farewell to his old China
Few will lament the departure of China’s UK ambassador Liu Xiaoming, who was memorably embarrassed on The Andrew Marr Show last year after he unconvincingly denied that China was forcing Uighur Muslims into concentration camps
Few will lament the departure of China’s UK ambassador Liu Xiaoming, who was memorably embarrassed on The Andrew Marr Show last year after he unconvincingly denied that China was forcing Uighur Muslims into concentration camps — and then blustered as he was confronted with photographic evidence.
Beijing’s man did, however, manage to gather some friends for a virtual leaving do — proudly publishing a photo of the happy event online.
And who was in attendance? As the Guido Fawkes blog has pointed out, among the guests was ex-Labour shadow minister Barry Gardiner, who has received more than £500,000 since 2015 from a Chinese law firm with links to the Communist ghouls who run the country.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock admitted last week that the shlocky disaster movie Contagion — released in 2011 — taught him that there would be a global scramble for vaccines in a pandemic, and that it helped to shape his Covid-19 immunisation strategy.
This prompted Michael Dugher, once Gordon Brown’s Downing Street chief spokesman, to mutter: ‘Thank God he wasn’t watching old episodes of It’ll Be Alright On The Night.’
Health Secretary Matt Hancock pictured taking a coronavirus test at a new Covid-19 testing facility for staff who have to travel to their offices in the Houses of Parliament in London
The Oldie magazine, champion of the aged and hard of hearing, reports how confusing it is that so many members of the House of Lords have names that sound the same.
Labour’s Lord Foulkes noted recently that he is competing for attention with Lady Fookes, a Lord Faulks, a Lord Fox and newly ennobled Baroness Fox.
Luckily, however, help is at hand. There are four peers called Hunt. Tally ho!
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