Documents to be issued as Mone steps out of Lords
Tory ministers are expected to release documents linking Baroness Mone to a controversial contract for PPE equipment following a vote in the Commons.
MPs backed Labour’s motion calling on the Conservative Government to publish the information and there was an immediate call for early action.
The vote came after Conservative peer Baroness Michelle Mone announced she was taking a leave of absence from the House of Lords with immediate effect in order to challenge allegations over her links to the £203m contract.
Pressure has been building over the awarding of the contract for surgical gowns and masks to PPE Medro after Baroness Mone flagged the firm to ministers through a so-called “VIP lane” system.
Baroness Mone, who found initial success as the founder of the Ultimo lingerie business, has insisted that she has no relationship with PPE Medpro.
She has since faced accusations of profiting from the business, but has consistently denied any “role or function” in the company, with lawyers previously saying she is “not connected to PPE Medpro in any capacity”
Angela Rayner Labour’s Deputy Leader, responding to the passage of Labour’s Humble Address Motion, said: “The Tories are out of excuses and have finally been shamed into conceding the release of these documents.
“Ministers must now confirm when, where and how this information will be released. This cannot be yet another Tory whitewash.
“Rishi Sunak was too weak to remove the Tory whip from Baroness Mone, leaving her to finally read the writing on the wall. This eye-watering waste of public money happened under his watch while he was Chancellor. He must act now to close the loopholes, ban VIP lanes, and give us our money back.”
A spokesman for Baroness Mone said: “With immediate effect, Baroness Mone will be taking a leave of absence from the House of Lords in order to clear her name of the allegations that have been unjustly levelled against her.”
The leave of absence means Baroness Mone will not attend sittings of the House, vote on any proceedings and will not be able to claim any allowance.
A House of Lords spokesman said: “Baroness Mone has indicated she intends to request to take leave of absence from the House of Lords.
“Members request leave of absence by writing to the Clerk of the Parliaments. In doing so, they must confirm when they intend to return to the House.
“The Clerk will take a decision once he has received the formal request and after consulting with others as required.”
The Guardian recently published documents showing that Baroness Mone appeared to have received millions originating from the profits of PPE Medpro.
Mone has previously stated: “I completely refute these allegations. I was asked to help at a time of national emergency. I declared all necessary interests and have done nothing wrong. I will cooperate fully with any investigation.”
The former health secretary Matt Hancock has claimed Baroness Mone made “extraordinarily aggressive” lobbying efforts for a separate unnamed company and said she made “wild accusations” about the procurement process, intimating that the company was suffering unfairly.
In an extract from his diaries he wrote: “Was she threatening me? It certainly looked that way.”