Sunak ‘shocked’ by revelations around Mone
Rishi Sunak today admitted he was “shocked” by the allegations surrounding the Tory peer Baroness Mone but said the proper investigative procedures were under way.
Baroness Mone is accused of benefiting from the profits of PPE Medpro, a supplier of safety equipment during the pandemic. She denies allegations made against her and has taken leave of absence from the House of Lords to clear her name.
Asked during Prime Minister’s Questions by Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer how she was in receipt of nearly £30m of taxpayers’ money, Mr Sunak replied: “Like everyone else I was absolutely shocked to read that.
“It is absolutely right that she is no longer attending the House of Lords and therefore no longer has the Conservative whip.”
However, he added: “The one thing we know about him [Sir Keir] is he is a lawyer, he should know there is a process in place. It is right that that process concludes. I hope that it is resolved promptly.”
The exchange followed further claims that Baroness Mone lobbied on behalf of another company, LFI Diagnostics, said to be an entity of her husband, Doug Barrowman’s family office.
She is accused of trying to help secure government contracts for Covid lateral flow tests. According to The Guardian this prompted a formal rebuke from a health minister who reminded her of “the need for propriety”.
A departmental source told the newspaper that Baroness Mone was “in a class of her own in terms of the sheer aggression of her advocacy” on behalf of LFI Diagnostics.
On Tuesday evening, MPs backed a motion by Labour deputy leader Angela Rayner to force the government to release documents relating to £200m contracts that were given to PPE Medpro in June 2020.
Through their lawyers, both Baroness Mone and Mr Barrowman have denied any “involvement” in PPE Medpro, or any role in the process through which the company was awarded its government contracts. Mone’s lawyers also denied she benefited financially from the company.