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Four Hong Kong ‘students’ aged 16 to 21 are detained for ‘urging independence’ from China

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four hong kong students aged 16 to 21 are detained for urging independence from china

Hong Kong police have made their first major arrests under a new national security law, detaining four young people on suspicion of inciting secession.

Three males and one female, aged 16 to 21, were arrested at three locations, a police official said. All are believed to be students.

Police said the group had made comments on social media since the law took effect that urged independence for Hong Kong, a semi-autonomous Chinese territory.

Li Kwai-wah, senior superintendent of a newly-formed unit to enforce the security law, said: ‘They say they want to establish a Hong Kong republic, and that they will unreservedly fight for it. They also said they want to unite all pro-independence groups in Hong Kong for this purpose.’

Senior Superintendent Li Kwai-wah, Hong Kong Police National Security Department, speaks during a news conference in Hong Kong (July 30 HKT)

Senior Superintendent Li Kwai-wah, Hong Kong Police National Security Department, speaks during a news conference in Hong Kong (July 30 HKT)

Senior Superintendent Li Kwai-wah, Hong Kong Police National Security Department, speaks during a news conference in Hong Kong (July 30 HKT)

The law, which took effect late on June 30, was imposed on Hong Kong by the central government in Beijing and has raised fears that the city’s autonomy and freedoms are being taken away.

Hong Kong was promised its own governing and legal system until 2047, or 50 years after the former British colony was returned to China in 1997. China says that issues such as separatism concern national security and as such fall under its purview.

Police did not identify the suspects or their organisation but a group called Studentlocalism said on Twitter and Facebook that its former leader, Tony Chung, had been arrested for allegedly inciting secession.

The group announced it was disbanding before the law took effect, but has maintained an online presence through what it calls a US division.

The arrests came one day after a leading figure in Hong Kong’s political opposition was fired from his university job.

Hong Kong University’s council voted to oust Benny Tai from his position as an associate law professor in an 18-2 vote, local media reported.

Reporters take pictures and video as a police vehicle drives inside a station where believed members of Hong Kong pro-independence group are in custody in Hong Kong, China today

Reporters take pictures and video as a police vehicle drives inside a station where believed members of Hong Kong pro-independence group are in custody in Hong Kong, China today

Reporters take pictures and video as a police vehicle drives inside a station where believed members of Hong Kong pro-independence group are in custody in Hong Kong, China today

Mr Tai has been out on bail since being sentenced to 16 months in prison in April 2019 as one of nine leaders put on trial for their part in a 2014 drive for greater democracy known as the Umbrella Movement.

In a post on his Facebook page, Mr Tai said he intended to continue writing and lecturing on legal issues and asked for public support.

‘If we continue in our persistence, we will definitely see the revival of the rule of law in Hong Kong one day,’ he wrote.

While the 2014 movement failed in its bid to expand democracy in the semi-autonomous Chinese city, protests returned last year following the local government’s proposal of legislation that would have allowed criminal suspects to be extradited to face trial in mainland China.

Opponents called that a violation of the independent legal system that Hong Kong was guaranteed after being handed over to Chinese rule.

Although the legislation was eventually shelved, the protesters’ demands expanded to include calls for democratic changes and an investigation into alleged police abuses, growing increasingly violent over the second half of the year.

That prompted Beijing to pass the security law, saying opposition to the legislation made its passage impossible at the local level in Hong Kong. Critics have decried the law as part of a major crackdown on political activity, free speech and academic independence

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Boris Johnson is planning advertising campaign to inform teachers and parents about Covid symptoms

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boris johnson is planning advertising campaign to inform teachers and parents about covid symptoms

The Prime Minister is planning an advertising campaign to inform teachers and parents about coronavirus symptoms, it has been revealed.

The government has faced severe backlash over the test and trace system which has seen those needing tests sent hundreds of miles and told to join long queues at some testing centres while others stand empty. 

While Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has called on Health Secretary Matt Hancock to apologise for what has happened, Mr Hancock told Sophy Ridge on Sky News that he would not.

He said: ‘No, I strongly and emphatically support my team who have done an amazing job at building capacity.’ 

As the testing controversy continues, the government’s ad campaign will hope to stop pupils with runny noses and colds being sent home and told to get a test.

According to the Times, Boris Johnson‘s aides are working on the public information campaign in a bid to stop the system being overwhelmed.

The newspaper also claims rationing plans for coronavirus tests in England will prioritise teachers.

Boris Johnson's aides are preparing an advertising campaign aimed at teachers and parents and informing them of the symptoms of Covid in a bid to prevent overload on testing system

Boris Johnson's aides are preparing an advertising campaign aimed at teachers and parents and informing them of the symptoms of Covid in a bid to prevent overload on testing system

Boris Johnson’s aides are preparing an advertising campaign aimed at teachers and parents and informing them of the symptoms of Covid in a bid to prevent overload on testing system

 The testing chaos has been blamed on a ‘mad’ rush by parents needlessly seeking Covid tests for children with common colds.

Typically, coughs and colds spike every September when children head back to class, and become even more common during the winter.

But a No 10 source told the Mail on Sunday the surge in demand for tests was due in part by people ‘not understanding when they should and shouldn’t get a test’.

The source said: ‘For example, whole classes of children and their families have been sent for tests after one positive case, which is mad.

‘Loads of kids get sniffles in the autumn – the difference now is they’re all being kept off school and trying to get corona tests.’

Public health experts echoed the sentiments. Linda Bauld, Professor of Public Health at the University of Edinburgh, said the same pattern of over-testing was evident in Scotland, where schools returned around a fortnight before those south of the border.

‘It was apparent from the Scottish example that a lot of unnecessary tests were taken up by parents for their children and the same thing has happened in England and Wales,’ she told The Mail on Sunday.

Dido Harding, head of NHS Test and Trace, told MPs that there had been a ‘very marked increase in the number of young children being tested, a doubling of children under 17 being tested’, with even larger rises in those aged five to nine.

A graphic shows how parents can tell the difference between a cold, flu and coronavirus

A graphic shows how parents can tell the difference between a cold, flu and coronavirus

A graphic shows how parents can tell the difference between a cold, flu and coronavirus

According to some reports, more than 300 schools had sent either some or all pupils home after reported or suspected cases by last week.

The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health advises that children with simple cold symptoms such as a runny nose or sore throats without fever should not be tested.

NAHT – the headteachers union – has released data which shows how the testing backlog is affecting schools.

The study shows four in five schools have children isolating because they can’t access a covid test.

The union collected data from 736 schools and found 82% of schools have children currently not attending because they cannot access a test to rule out covid-19.

Meanwhile 87% have children currently not attending because they are waiting for their test results.

The union also found that 45% of schools have staff currently not at work because they cannot access a test to rule out covid-19, and 60% have staff currently staying home because they are waiting for their test results.

Paul Whiteman, general secretary of school leaders’ union NAHT, last week wrote to the Prime Minister with mounting concerns about the impact the lack of access to covid-19 tests is having on schools, warning that the situation is becoming increasingly disruptive and unsustainable. Today’s figures add weight to those concerns.

Mr Whiteman says: ‘Tests for covid-19 need to be readily available for everyone so that pupils and staff who get negative results can get back into school quickly.

‘But we are hearing the same thing repeatedly from our members across the country – chaos is being caused by the inability of staff and families to successfully get tested when they display symptoms.

Year eight pupils wear face masks as a precaution against the transmission of the novel coronavirus as they walk along a corridor of Moor End Academy in Huddersfield, Yorkshire

Year eight pupils wear face masks as a precaution against the transmission of the novel coronavirus as they walk along a corridor of Moor End Academy in Huddersfield, Yorkshire

Year eight pupils wear face masks as a precaution against the transmission of the novel coronavirus as they walk along a corridor of Moor End Academy in Huddersfield, Yorkshire

‘This means schools are struggling with staffing, have children missing school, and ultimately that children’s education is being needlessly disrupted.

‘The government assured us that testing would be ready for schools reopening – it was one of their own key safety requirements to have in place to enable children and teachers to return.

‘It is in no way unpredictable or surprising that the demand for covid-19 tests would spike when schools reopened more widely this term.

‘And yet the system is in chaos. The government has failed schools and children.

‘It is unacceptable for this to happen when schools have put so much effort into getting their part of the plan right, and when pupils have had to endure so much uncertainty and disruption already.’

Two other unions representing headteachers and governors have also written to the Prime Minister urging him ‘take charge’ of Government efforts to ramp up testing capacity.

They say the inability of pupils an staff to get a swab have put some heads in an ‘impossible situation’ after grappling with symptomatic pupils and staff struggling to access tests.

This week it was reported that Britain’s testing fiasco has forced 740 schools to send children home.

Steve Chalke, the head of Oasis Academies Trust, made the alarming claim as Boris Johnson faced mounting pressure to get a grip over widespread lack of access to swabs.

Mr Johnson has declared the return of lessons a ‘national priority’ and the Department for Education earlier this week trumpeted that 99.9 per cent of schools have reopened.

Three unions representing headteachers and governors have written to Boris Johnson urging him 'take charge' of Government efforts to ramp up testing capacity. Pictured above people queue for a test in Southend-on-Sea as the testing system continues to see high demand

Three unions representing headteachers and governors have written to Boris Johnson urging him 'take charge' of Government efforts to ramp up testing capacity. Pictured above people queue for a test in Southend-on-Sea as the testing system continues to see high demand

Three unions representing headteachers and governors have written to Boris Johnson urging him ‘take charge’ of Government efforts to ramp up testing capacity. Pictured above people queue for a test in Southend-on-Sea as the testing system continues to see high demand

Addressing concerns about testing when appearing before the Commons Education Committee on Wednesday, Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said each school was given 10 home-testing kits at the start of term and schools can now order more kits from the NHS directly.

Rob Halfon, chairman of the committee, asked if he could ‘guarantee’ that pupils and teachers who need local Covid-19 tests would be able to get them within 48 hours in the event of outbreaks.

But Mr Williamson replied: ‘Schools are, I think, the only organisation that actually has a set of testing kits that have been sent to them directly in order to be able to ensure that if they are in a situation where someone isn’t in a position to be able to get a test, then they actually have testing kits on site.’

Schools have been hit with Covid-19 cases since it became compulsory for pupils to return.

Some have closed their doors days after reopening while others have told whole year groups and classes to self-isolate for two weeks following confirmed cases.

A poll from the GMB union suggests only half (51 per cent) of school staff have had training on Covid-19 health and safety measures and working practices – including infection control and correct use of PPE.

Stuart Fegan, national officer of GMB, said it is ‘shocking’ that large numbers of school staff are missing basic health and safety training around Covid-19 since schools had fully reopened.

It comes as Britain’s biggest Covid-19 testing lab is prioritising Premiership Rugby stars and travellers to Dubai, company insiders have claimed. 

Randox Laboratories in Co Antrim, Northern Ireland, reportedly also regularly fails to provide test results within 24 hours to members of the public. 

The lab is responsible for a quarter of all community tests across the UK after winning a £133 million contract in March.

Randox completed fewer than one in 10 tests on time on September 9 and has also been forced to throw away more tests than any other lab due to human error, according to a report in the Sunday Times citing leaked documents. 

Staff alleged that tests from rugby players and coaching staff are given ‘priority status’ and are flown by helicopter to Antrim every week, with results usually available by 9am the next day. 

Randox Laboratories in Co Antrim, Northern Ireland is prioritising Premiership Rugby stars and travellers to Dubai, company insiders have claimed

Randox Laboratories in Co Antrim, Northern Ireland is prioritising Premiership Rugby stars and travellers to Dubai, company insiders have claimed

Randox Laboratories in Co Antrim, Northern Ireland is prioritising Premiership Rugby stars and travellers to Dubai, company insiders have claimed

Randox Laboratories was founded by Dr Peter FitzGerald in 1982 and currently employs more than 1,500 people. Dr Fitzgerald pictured above

Randox Laboratories was founded by Dr Peter FitzGerald in 1982 and currently employs more than 1,500 people. Dr Fitzgerald pictured above

Randox Laboratories was founded by Dr Peter FitzGerald in 1982 and currently employs more than 1,500 people. Dr Fitzgerald pictured above 

It is claimed that those travelling to Dubai receive similar special treatment. On September 2, Randox said it was ‘delighted’ to sign a new deal to screen airline passengers to Dubai. 

It came on the same day 12,401 tests were voided without explanation. 

Sources told the publication that the Northern Irish laboratory is unable to process tests quick enough after taking on too much work. 

The firm is said be having major staffing problems – with 35,000 tests voided since the start of August. 

The company, based in County Antrim, Northern Ireland, is said to be blaming leaks, damaged tubes and people sending urine rather than saliva, as the reason for voiding the tests. 

In July, Randox was forced to recall half a million test kits after checks revealed they were not sterile. 

The laboratory continues to play a key role in Covid-19 testing ahead of an anticipated second wave of cases. 

Despite its alleged struggles, Randox is taking on commercial testing contracts and is reportedly currently in negotiations with Boots. 

Randox Laboratories was founded by Dr Peter FitzGerald in 1982 and currently employs more than 1,500 people, with offices in Brazil, America and India among others. 

The lab employs Conservative MP Owen Paterson as a consultant for £100,000 a year which easily surpasses his salary as an MP. 

It comes amid growing anger over the Government's testing 'shambles', as centres across the UK are facing huge queues and a backlog of people

It comes amid growing anger over the Government's testing 'shambles', as centres across the UK are facing huge queues and a backlog of people

It comes amid growing anger over the Government’s testing ‘shambles’, as centres across the UK are facing huge queues and a backlog of people 

Paterson has previously lobbied the government on behalf of the company. Randox has insisted its relationship with Mr Paterson had no role in it winning the multimillion contract from the government.

It has also denied priorititising commercial contracting. 

‘Randox takes great care in meeting all its contractual obligations and fully recognises the critical importance of meeting those obligations with regard to the national testing programme,’ the firm said in a statement. 

‘Randox does not prioritise commercial work ahead of other work streams. We do not comment on commercial matters. We do not have a practice of voiding high numbers of test kits on a daily basis.

‘On average the Randox void rate is comparable across the programme.’

It comes amid growing anger over the Government’s testing ‘shambles’, as centres across the UK are facing huge queues and a backlog of people. 

Parents in Bolton and Hull have complained of struggling to get tests for their children who have been sent home from school ‘with a runny nose’.

Meanwhile, others have reported driving for two hours from West Sussex only to be turned away without a test and even being told to make a 280-mile round trip from Durham to Edinburgh.

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Keir Starmer will tell Labour to rediscover patriotism and ‘pride in Britain’ to win back voters

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keir starmer will tell labour to rediscover patriotism and pride in britain to win back voters

Sir Keir Starmer will tell Labour members that the party must rediscover its patriotism and ‘pride in Britain’ this week as he seeks to draw a line under the Jeremy Corbyn era. 

The Opposition Leader will use an online address to the virtual conference, which starts today, to warn that the party must do more to engage with traditional voters who were alienated by his hard Left predecessor.

The party has already unveiled a new slogan ‘A new leadership’ which also tries to distance Sir Keir from the Cobyn movement, which led the party to one of its largest ever election defeats in December. 

A source told the Telegraph: ‘This week Keir will speak explicitly of his pride in Britain, of its values and for what it has achieved. It’ll be patriotic , optimistic and rooted in people’s values.’

The party leader told Sky’s Ridge on Sunday today: ‘We are making it clear we’re a new leadership and that means absolutely clear about recognising the scale of the defeat last December: that was devastating for the Labour party, devastating for the Labour movement and for the millions of people who desperately needed a Labour government. 

‘So, recognising that, listening to those who no longer vote Labour – and I spent the last six months listening, asking for conversations with people to be difficult rather than easy – and changing and focusing on the future, and that means difficult decisions like tackling anti-Semitism. So, a new leadership, focused on 2024 but absolutely recognising the scale of the task that we face.’

Sir Keir on Ridge

Sir Keir on Ridge

The Labour leader and wife Victoria at a Battle of Britain memorial service today

The Labour leader and wife Victoria at a Battle of Britain memorial service today

The Opposition Leader told Sky’s Ridge on Sunday today (left): ‘We are making it clear we’re a new leadership and that means absolutely clear about recognising the scale of the defeat last December. He later attended a service for the 80th anniversary of the Battle of Britain (right) with his wife Victoria 

The Opposition leader will use an online address to the virtual conference, which starts today, to warn that the party must do more to engage with traditional voters who were alienated by his hard Left predecessor

The Opposition leader will use an online address to the virtual conference, which starts today, to warn that the party must do more to engage with traditional voters who were alienated by his hard Left predecessor

The Opposition leader will use an online address to the virtual conference, which starts today, to warn that the party must do more to engage with traditional voters who were alienated by his hard Left predecessor

The party has already unveiled a new slogan 'A new leadership' which also tries to distance Sir Keir from the Cobyn movement, which led the party to one of its largest ever election defeats in December

The party has already unveiled a new slogan 'A new leadership' which also tries to distance Sir Keir from the Cobyn movement, which led the party to one of its largest ever election defeats in December

The party has already unveiled a new slogan ‘A new leadership’ which also tries to distance Sir Keir from the Cobyn movement, which led the party to one of its largest ever election defeats in December

Veggie Keir admits: ‘I miss bacon sarnies’ 

Sir Keir admitted he sometimes finds it tough being a vegetarian because of his love for bacon sandwiches.

The Labour leader confirmed today that he had been given up meat years ago for health an environmental reasons, but that it was not plain sailing.

He told Ridge: ‘ I gave up as a matter of principle years ago on the basis that eating meat wasn’t the right thing for the body and the planet but I have to say, I miss meat.’

Asked what he specifically missed he looked whistful as he added: ‘Oh, bacon sandwiches, chicken curry, you name it, almost everything! 

‘So, this is hard work for me but my wife has been vegetarian for many years longer than I have so … ‘  

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Mr Corbyn was widely criticised as leaders for failing to criticise Russia after it was foudn to have been behind the novichok nerve agent attack in Salisbury. 

The attempted assassination of Sergei and Yulia Skripal left a local woman dead.

The former leader is a long-standing senior member of the Stop the War Coalition, which campaigns against western military intervention, and wants the UK to abandon its nuclear deterrent.

In June It was revealed that documents used by Mr Corbyn in his election campaign was ‘almost certainly’ spread by ‘Russian actors’ in the run-up to the December poll.

The then-Labour leader brandished a 451-page dossier at press conferences saying they proved the NHS was ‘for sale’ in a post-Brexit trade deal. 

Sir Keir is expected to use his keynote speech on Tuesday to set out his vision for Britain after Covid-19 and to explain how he intends to lead Labour back to power. 

Sir Keir, formerly a leader of Labour Remainers, told Ridge today: ‘We have left the EU, we’re out, so the Leave/Remain argument is over. 

‘Whichever position people held in the past; we have left so Leave/Remain is over. 

‘On the second question, do I want to win? Of course, I want to win, I absolutely want to win. We have lost four elections in a row; I didn’t come into politics to be in opposition.’

In a stinging rebuke to Mr Corbyn he also said: ‘Leadership was necessary on anti-Semitism and that’s what we’re showing in the Labour Party now.’

Asked if the party had been lacking leadership on anti-Semitism, he said: ‘I think that the leadership issue is tied up with anti-Semitism.

‘What I’ve tried to do as leader of the Labour Party is make it very clear in my acceptance speech (in becoming leader) that we would tear out anti-Semitism and then get on and do it, and make sure that we’re taking action as well as words.

‘In all my discussions with Jewish communities they’ve said to me, ‘Keir, in the end we’ll judge you on what you do, not what you say’, and I’m happy with that.’

Last night Sir Keir’s bid to reaffirm his control over his party was met with claims from the hard-Left that he could betray Mr Corbyn’s legacy.

MPs loyal to the former leader warned Sir Keir not to abandon Mr Corbyn’s ‘overwhelmingly popular’ Left-wing agenda.

But Labour Party officials hit back by condemning Mr Corbyn for holding high-profile events at this week’s ‘virtual’ party conference.

The conference – relegated to an online virtual rally owing to Covid-19 – begins today with the party unveiling the slogan ‘A New Leadership’.

The phrase replaces ‘Under New Management’ which Sir Keir, who replaced Mr Corbyn in May, has been using during the summer. 

But at an online rally for the Socialist Campaign Group on Monday, party figures loyal to the Left-wing agenda charted by the former leader will warn Sir Keir not to ‘lurch to the Right’ by burying Mr Corbyn’s policy platform.

Former Shadow Cabinet Office Minister Jon Trickett is set to use the event to launch a thinly veiled rebuke of the new leader for failing to set out a vision that will take Labour back to power. 

In an article to coincide with the rally, he will warn: ‘We can’t cross our fingers and expect to win the next Election by default.’

He will acknowledge Sir Keir’s success in holding Boris Johnson to account over the Covid crisis but will add: ‘It’s not enough to chip away at Boris’s blundering and the Tories’ incompetence. We have to make people feel they’re voting for something – not just against something.

‘It would be folly to ditch all the policy platform built up over the last five years. Build on it, yes! But don’t jettison the core principles.’

Insisting Mr Corbyn’s policies were popular with both the party membership and the electorate, Mr Trickett writes: ‘The last thing we need in the age of Covid, when even the Tories see the sense of massive state intervention, is for Labour to lurch to the Right.’ 

Sources loyal to Sir Keir hit back last night by pointing out that only this weekend a YouGov poll showed Labour had now drawn level with the Tories on 40 per cent each.

One said: ‘It’s pretty ridiculous for the hard-Left to start whingeing about Keir, given how much progress he’s made in restoring the party’s reputation since our disastrous Election result under Corbyn.’

Separately, Labour officials also protested at Mr Corbyn’s decision to take part in virtual pre-conference meetings yesterday, saying he should be keeping a low profile.

One said: ‘At the same time Labour women’s conference hears from black female MPs and members, Jeremy Corbyn is hosting a rival event that matters most to him – his ego.’

But last night, allies of the former leader insisted he had every right to take part in conference meetings and branded the criticisms ‘absurd’. 

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Britain’s biggest Covid testing lab ‘is prioritising Premiership Rugby stars’ 

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britains biggest covid testing lab is prioritising premiership rugby stars

Britain’s biggest Covid-19 testing lab is prioritising Premiership Rugby stars and travellers to Dubai, company insiders have claimed. 

Randox Laboratories in Co Antrim, Northern Ireland, reportedly also regularly fails to provide test results within 24 hours to members of the public. 

The lab is responsible for a quarter of all community tests across the UK after winning a £133 million contract in March. 

Randox Laboratories in Co Antrim, Northern Ireland is prioritising Premiership Rugby stars and travellers to Dubai, company insiders have claimed

Randox Laboratories in Co Antrim, Northern Ireland is prioritising Premiership Rugby stars and travellers to Dubai, company insiders have claimed

Randox Laboratories in Co Antrim, Northern Ireland is prioritising Premiership Rugby stars and travellers to Dubai, company insiders have claimed

Randox completed fewer than one in 10 tests on time on September 9 and has also been forced to throw away more tests than any other lab due to human error, according to a report in the Sunday Times citing leaked documents. 

Staff alleged that tests from rugby players and coaching staff are given ‘priority status’ and are flown by helicopter to Antrim every week, with results usually available by 9am the next day. 

It is claimed that those travelling to Dubai receive similar special treatment. On September 2, Randox said it was ‘delighted’ to sign a new deal to screen airline passengers to Dubai. 

It came on the same day 12,401 tests were voided without explanation. 

Sources told the publication that the Northern Irish laboratory is unable to process tests quick enough after taking on too much work. 

The firm is said be having major staffing problems – with 35,000 tests voided since the start of August. 

The company, based in County Antrim, Northern Ireland, is said to be blaming leaks, damaged tubes and people sending urine rather than saliva, as the reason for voiding the tests. 

In July, Randox was forced to recall half a million test kits after checks revealed they were not sterile. 

Randox Laboratories was founded by Dr Peter FitzGerald in 1982 and currently employs more than 1,500 people. Dr Fitzgerald pictured above

Randox Laboratories was founded by Dr Peter FitzGerald in 1982 and currently employs more than 1,500 people. Dr Fitzgerald pictured above

Randox Laboratories was founded by Dr Peter FitzGerald in 1982 and currently employs more than 1,500 people. Dr Fitzgerald pictured above 

The laboratory continues to play a key role in Covid-19 testing ahead of an anticipated second wave of cases. 

Despite its alleged struggles, Randox is taking on commercial testing contracts and is reportedly currently in negotiations with Boots. 

Randox Laboratories was founded by Dr Peter FitzGerald in 1982 and currently employs more than 1,500 people, with offices in Brazil, America and India among others. 

A pharmacist speaks to a customer with a safety screen between them at a Boots store in London, as the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues. Randox is reportedly currently in negotiations with Boots

A pharmacist speaks to a customer with a safety screen between them at a Boots store in London, as the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues. Randox is reportedly currently in negotiations with Boots

A pharmacist speaks to a customer with a safety screen between them at a Boots store in London, as the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues. Randox is reportedly currently in negotiations with Boots

The lab employs Conservative MP Owen Paterson as a consultant for £100,000 a year which easily surpasses his salary as an MP. 

Paterson has previously lobbied the government on behalf of the company. Randox has insisted its relationship with Mr Paterson had no role in it winning the multimillion contract from the government.

It has also denied priotitising commercial contracting. 

‘Randox takes great care in meeting all its contractual obligations and fully recognises the critical importance of meeting those obligations with regard to the national testing programme,’ the firm said in a statement. 

It comes amid growing anger over the Government's testing 'shambles', as centres across the UK are facing huge queues and a backlog of people

It comes amid growing anger over the Government's testing 'shambles', as centres across the UK are facing huge queues and a backlog of people

It comes amid growing anger over the Government’s testing ‘shambles’, as centres across the UK are facing huge queues and a backlog of people 

‘Randox does not prioritise commercial work ahead of other work streams. We do not comment on commercial matters. We do not have a practice of voiding high numbers of test kits on a daily basis.

‘On average the Randox void rate is comparable across the programme.’

It comes amid growing anger over the Government’s testing ‘shambles’, as centres across the UK are facing huge queues and a backlog of people. 

Parents in Bolton and Hull have complained of struggling to get tests for their children who have been sent home from school ‘with a runny nose’.

Meanwhile, others have reported driving for two hours from West Sussex only to be turned away without a test and even being told to make a 280-mile round trip from Durham to Edinburgh.

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