British Culture Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, says it is "completely normal" for a contractor to fail to meet its contractual obligations.
As reported in Digital Journal, it emerged during the week that the private security firm, G4S would be unable to meet its obligations to provide security personnel for the London Olympics. In response the government immediately called upon 3,500 military personnel, many of whom have recently returned from Afghanistan, to fill the gap.
Today's Independent on Sunday reveals that the government were informed of concerns regarding G4S's capacity to provide security in a confidential report as early as September last year. However, the Home Secretary, Theresa May, told the House of Commons on Thursday that the problems had not become apparent until the previous day. She said:
We were receiving reassurances from G4S until very recently, and the absolute gap in numbers was crystallised finally only yesterday.
According to Bloomberg, the Home Office has issued a denial of the Independent's claim, saying the report is inaccurate.
The London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games
London 2012 Games: Artists impression of the completed Olympic Park
Nevertheless, Culture Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, attempted to explain the discrepency on the BBC's Andrew Marr show, asserting that G4S had claimed right up until Wednesday that everything was "on track". The Daily Telegraph notes that he added:
We of course have been monitoring the situation at G4S and their management had told us right up to last week that everything was all right. We were asking the right questions and we were being told that everything was on track.
Mr Hunt, in a clear attempt to avoid what he referred to as the "blame game", also pointed out that it is "completely normal" for a contractor to fail to deliver on a major project. He further added that the government had put in place a contingency plan as soon as the problem came to light.
Whilst Mr Hunt may well wish to avoid the "blame game", Harriet Harman, the deputy leader of the Opposition, told Sky News the government had
been dangerously incompetent on this and I hope that they are going to sort themselves...