Baroness challenged

Mone’s Lords future questioned as PPE row grows

Michelle Mone
Michelle Mone: government knew about her involvement

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said Baroness Mone should not be a member of the House of Lords, describing the PPE scandal as a “shocking disgrace from top to bottom”.

Following her admissions that she lied to the media about her links to a company that supplied equipment to the government, he said the government had “serious questions” to answer.

PPE Medro was awarded government contracts worth more than £200m to supply PPE to the NHS during the pandemic through a so-called “VIP lane”.

Baroness Mone insisted the government knew about her involvement with PPE Medpro. She also admitted  she stands to benefit from the profits made by the company which is led by her husband.

The Liberal Democrats called for “an urgent independent inquiry into what happened at the Cabinet Office over these contracts”.

The party’s Cabinet Office spokeswoman Christine Jardine said. “The more this scandal unfolds the more serious the questions for Michael Gove and other ministers to answer.

“What did ministers know when, and what exactly did they say to Michelle Mone or anyone else involved?”

In her interview on Sunday, Baroness Mone said she contacted Michael Gove – then Cabinet Office minister – at the start of the pandemic to offer help.

The Scottish lingerie tycoon was made a Conservative peer by David Cameron but is no longer in the parliamentary party.

She is currently on a leave of absence from Parliament, which she previously said was to “clear her name”, and is being investigated by the House of Lords for not declaring her interest in PPE Medpro.

The company is also being investigated by the National Crime Agency (NCA).

Earlier, Energy Efficiency Minister Lord Callanan said he hoped Baroness Mone would “see sense” and “would not be coming back to the House of Lords”.

“I think she should have declared her involvement in that in the House of Lords register, and there is guidance available for that,” he told Sky News.

During a visit to Scotland, Rishi Sunak said: “The government takes these things incredibly seriously, which is why we’re pursuing legal action against the company concerned in these matters.

“But it is also subject to an ongoing criminal investigation. And because of that, there’s not much further that I can add.

Responding to Mr Sunak’s comments on X, Baroness Mone said: “What is @RishiSunak talking about?

“I was honest with the Cabinet Office, the government and the NHS in my dealings with them. They all knew about my involvement from the very beginning.”

However, Lord Bethell – who was a minister in the Department of Health during the pandemic – disputed her account, saying she “wasn’t ‘honest’ about her financial interest to me”.

“She didn’t explain ‘from the very beginning’ about her financial ‘involvement’,” he wrote on X, adding that Mr Sunak was right to take the matter seriously.

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