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LONDON: A UK government minister resigned Monday in protest over the government’s handling of fraudulent loans granted as part of a pandemic business support scheme. Theodore Agnew, a minister at the Cabinet Office and Treasury with a seat in the House of Lords, dramatically walked out after resigning from his posts during a speech criticising the “Bounce Back Loan Scheme”.

While Agnew said he was not resigning over the “Partygate” allegations surrounding Prime Minister Boris Johnson, it was another blow to his government’s reputation.

Agnew’s resignation came after the Treasury revealed in documents published online this month that it expects to write off £4.3 billion in Covid payments lost to fraudulent claims.

The country’s consumer spending watchdog in December estimated the fraud cost at £4.9 billion.

Agnew complained that oversight by the ministry for business and a government-owned development bank had been “nothing less than woeful”, criticising “schoolboy errors” in the way loans were allocated.

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