IN the midst of a crisis not seen since the war in this country, the Government reached out for someone to head its vaccine task force, which would smooth the path of a Covid vaccine and its distribution in Britain.

It appointed Kate Bingham, who happens to be the wife of Herefordshire MP Jesse Norman but more pertinently has been a leader in the life sciences field for many years.

She was also known and probably trusted by officials at the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.


It would have made her a stand-out candidate for the (temporary) job.

The prolonged selection process that such an appointment might normally entail did not happen.

Depending on your standpoint, you might think that was a wise decision given the requirement for urgency in the midst of such pressing need. Or you might consider it an unacceptable instance of the Conservative party ‘chumocracy’ at work.

But what is truly unacceptable is the sniping at a woman who has done nothing wrong. She has, in fact, worked without pay and with some success for the public good to ensure Britain has reserved millions of doses of the new Pfizer vaccine, whereas many other country have not.

Suggestions that she divulged sensitive information to an investor conference have not been supported by proof, and her spending on PR – or more accurately communications specialists – is not nearly as profligate as has been portrayed.

The only scandal here is the lack of appreciation for Ms Bingham’s achievements.