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Gove says ‘communication confusion’ led to government missing deadline for EU ventilator scheme

MICHAEL GOVE said today that “communication confusion” led to the government missing the deadline for an EU ventilator-procurement scheme.

Downing Street said last week that Britain had decided against joining the EU’s procurement scheme on the basis that it is no longer a member of the EU.

But it was later confirmed that Britain could participate in the scheme as it is still in the Brexit transition period until October.

A spokesman for Number 10 has since claimed that officials did not get emails inviting Britain to join.

But Cabinet Office Minister Mr Gove admitted on to BBC’s Andrew Marr today: “There was some confusion over our involvement in that scheme.”

Asked whether an email had been received by the government, he said: “There was some communication confusion, I don’t know all the details of that.”

Earlier this week Downing Street said that the government had decided to pursue its own scheme and that 8,000 extra ventilators had been ordered to double the number already available.

But with the peak of Covid-19 expected to strike in about three weeks, officials said that extra ventilators may not arrive for months.

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