The House awards contracts to the most economically advantageous tender, in accordance with the statutory regime set out in the Public Contracts Regulations 2015. That involves the evaluation of bids using weighted objective criteria, such as whole-life costs, service levels, equality and other environmental or social aspects to ensure compliance with the principles of transparency, non-discrimination and equal treatment, meaning that tenders are assessed in conditions of effective competition.
The Big Ben refurbishment contract has been awarded to McAlpine, which is up to its neck in blacklisting. Is it not now time that we gave McAlpine a taste of its own medicine? Is it not possible for us to strip that blacklister of the contract? If not, can the House of Commons Commission take industrial relations and social responsibility into account in the awarding of future contracts?
I understand the hon. Gentleman’s question. He may be aware that pre-qualification criteria contain grounds for mandatory exclusion where a potential supplier has been convicted for breaching any relevant legislation, including the Employment Relations Act 1999 (Blacklists) Regulations 2010. However, I think the critical issue is there having been a conviction for breaching that legislation. The other difficulty is that, unfortunately, a large number of major contractors in the UK were involved in blacklisting, and an approach that involved offering no work to any of those, including those who perhaps settled out of court, would make it very difficult for any work to be undertaken.