Downing Street said it had not participated in an EU program to find vital ventilators to treat the coronavirus because it accidentally missed the deadline.
Number 10 initially stated that it was not participating, as the UK was no longer a member and was making our own efforts.
But after critics accused Boris Johnson of putting Brexit on the blue, a spokesman for the # 10 said he had missed a mistake and planned to participate in the future. It is understood that the United Kingdom claims that it did not receive an email from the EU asking it to participate.
The confusion means that the UK has not taken advantage of the collective purchasing power of the EU. The bloc seeks to use its influence to procure a large number of fans and protective equipment.
A spokesman for the British government said: Due to an initial communication problem, the United Kingdom did not receive an invitation in time to participate in four joint purchases in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
As the Commission has confirmed, we are eligible to participate in common public procurement during the transition period, after we left the EU earlier this year.
These first four public contracts having already been the subject of a call for tenders, we were unable to participate, but we will consider participating in future public contracts on the basis of public health requirements of the time.
The United Kingdom has chosen to obtain fans from British manufacturers who have never manufactured the products before. Dyson, the home appliance company, said it received an order for 10,000 machines.
Asked why the UK was not participating in the EU program, the Prime Minister’s official spokesperson said earlier: We are no longer a member of the EU. He noted that the UK is making its own efforts in this area.
When asked if it would be difficult for people to understand this decision, especially given the fact that Johnson called for international cooperation in the fight against the coronavirus, the spokesperson said: I am not not sure if this is the case.
The ministers acknowledged that the United Kingdom needs thousands of additional fans to prepare for the peak of the pandemic, adding to the 8,000 that the NHS already has. No. 10 said Thursday that thousands of additional fans had been ordered, but he could not set a time limit for their arrival.
The spokesperson said: We would say that we expect thousands of these people to arrive in the coming weeks and thousands more to be prepared in the coming months.
The spokesman said that Dyson would only be paid for its fans if they had passed regulatory tests. He said there had been an overwhelming response from companies offering to manufacture fans, and the government was now testing the proof of concept with a number of suppliers. The new orders all depend on the success of regulatory testing of the machines, he said.
However, opposition figures have said that the UK should also join the EU supply system, in case it can get equipment faster.
Layla Moran, leadership contestant for the Liberal Democratic Party, said: I would do whatever it takes to get more life saving equipment, and they have to take the same approach. Obviously, we can help the NHS and save lives by working with other countries.
Jonathan Ashworth, the ghost secretary of health, said: We raised this issue with the ministers of Commons earlier this week and have not received a satisfactory response. Given the widespread concerns about our ventilation capacity and the urgency to increase this capacity, we must cooperate through international programs to ensure that we get these desperately needed pieces of equipment.