Demand for ministers to face MPs over Michelle Mone's PPE deal

Demands for ministers to face MPs after Baroness Mone admitted lying about links to PPE firm that she stands to get millions of pounds from

Ministers are facing demands for a House of Commons quizzing after Baroness Michelle Mone admitted she stands to benefit from a PPE deal with the Government.

Labour are calling for Cabinet minister Michael Gove to appear before MPs after the former Conservative peer and her billionaire husband gave a ‘car crash’ TV interview.

Baroness Mone and Doug Barrowman, speaking on the BBC, apologised for concealing their role in the £200million deal for more than three years.

She had previously repeatedly insisted she had nothing to do with PPE Medpro winning contracts during the pandemic.

The interview, on the BBC’s Sunday With Laura Kuenssberg programme, saw Baroiness Mone admit she did not tell the truth about her links to the firm – while insisting that she and her husband have ‘no case to answer’.

The company is currently being investigated by the National Crime Agency (NCA), while the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) has since issued breach of contract proceedings over a 2020 deal on the supply of gowns.

Labour are calling for Cabinet minister Michael Gove to appear before MPs after the former Conservative peer and her billionaire husband gave a ‘car crash’ TV interview.

Labour’s shadow Cabinet Office minister Nick Thomas-Symonds has called on Mr Gove, who was Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster during the Covid crisis, to answer questions

Baroness Mone said she contacted Mr Gove at the start of the pandemic following a ‘call to arms for all lords, baronesses, MPs, senior civil servants, to help, because they needed massive quantities of PPE’.

Labour’s shadow Cabinet Office minister Nick Thomas-Symonds has now called on Mr Gove, who was Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster during the Covid crisis, to answer questions following her claim.

In a letter to Mr Gove, he said: ‘This series of events has led to civil litigation and an NCA investigation. Yet these ongoing matters should not preclude you from addressing questions about your own involvement and the role of the Government.

‘Events so far expose a shocking recklessness by the Conservative Government with regard to public money, and a sorry tale of incompetence in relation to the so-called ‘VIP Lane’ for procurement during the pandemic.’

Mr Thomas-Symonds said that Mr Gove should answer questions about the so-called ‘call to arms’ and what further communications he had with Baroness Mone.

‘The very least Conservative ministers owe is maximum possible transparency and there should be an urgent statement to Parliament before the Christmas Recess,’ he said.

Throughout the couple’s TV interview, which some likened to Prince Andrew’s infamous Newsnight showdown with Emily Maitlis, Baroness Mone, 52, remained defiant and denied wrongdoing.

‘I don’t honestly see there is a case to answer,’ she told Sunday with Laura Kuenssberg. ‘I can’t see what we have done wrong.’

Baroness Michelle Mone and her billionaire husband Doug Barrowman appeared in a ‘car crash’ interview on the BBC’s Sunday with Laura Kuenssberg programme

The lingerie tycoon lobbied Mr Gove and Lord Agnew, a fellow Cabinet Office minister, to secure lucrative business for PPE Medpro, a company Mr Barrowman was involved in. 

It was then awarded contracts to supply the NHS with medical protective equipment during the pandemic through the ‘VIP lane’ to fast-track preferred partners.

The deal yielded profits of about £60million but PPE Medpro is being sued by the Government for £122million plus costs for alleged ‘breach of contract and unjust enrichment’. 

READ MORE: Michelle Mone admits for the first time she stands to benefit from the £60M profit made from company that sold PPE to government during pandemic

The NCA also opened a case in May 2021 looking into the procurement of deals, interviewing the pair under caution over allegations of conspiracy to defraud, fraud by false representation and bribery.

Baroness Mone and her lawyers repeatedly insisted she and Mr Barrowman, 58, had nothing to do with the company or the process of awarding the contracts.

Her legal team told The Mail On Sunday in December 2021: ‘Baroness Mone had no knowledge of any ‘high-priority lane’, and did not play any part in or have any knowledge of PPE Medpro being placed in such a lane.’

In December last year she took a leave of absence from the House of Lords which her legal team said was to ‘clear her name of the allegations that have been unjustly levelled against her’.

But Baroness Mone admitted to Ms Kuenssberg that she had indeed lied to the Press – and ‘essentially lied to the public’, the presenter added – when she claimed the couple hadn’t been involved in the firm.

Baroness Michelle Mone has admitted for the first time she stands to gain financially from a PPE contract with the Government. Pictured: Undated handout photo of Baroness Mone 

Lady Mone and her husband Doug Barrowman previously said they’ve ‘done nothing wrong’. Pictured: The couple talking in a scene from the documentary

Baroness Mone in the House of Lords before the State Opening Of Parliament at Houses of Parliament in 2017

‘That’s not a crime,’ she said. ‘I was protecting my family and I think people will realise that.

‘I was a very successful, individual businesswoman, and since I walked into the House of Lords, it’s been a nightmare for my family.’

READ MORE HERE:  Experts say they were ‘duped’ into appearances in Michelle Mone’s PPE documentary amid investigation into company linked to ‘Baroness Bra’

Former government minister Anna Soubry described the exchange as a ‘car crash’, accusing the baroness of profiteering and now playing the victim to rebuild her reputation.

And Good Morning Britain presenter Susanna Reid said: ‘This interview was Laura K at her best – asking the right questions and allowing Michelle Mone and Doug Barrowman time to answer. And those answers are jaw-dropping.’

During the interview, Mr Barrowman admitted that Baroness Mone would benefit from the deal, as would their children. 

And she confirmed: ‘If one day, if God forbid, my husband passes away before me, then I am a beneficiary, as well as his children and my children, so yes, of course.’ 

Baroness Mone later tweeted to say the 90-minute interview had been ‘selectively edited down by producers for TV’. 

She had previously told a YouTube documentary, funded by PPE Medpro, that she believed she would be cleared of all wrongdoing.

During the interview, Mr Barrowman admitted that Baroness Mone would benefit from the deal, as would their children (Baroness Mone arrives at Scottish Business Awards in 2014)

Labour’s health spokesman Wes Streeting said: ‘Our message to those people who sought to use the pandemic to get rich quick: we want our money back. I don’t know who thought it was a good idea for her to do that interview, but I don’t think anyone watching will be shedding any tears.’

Meanwhile two experts interviewed for the YouTube documentary, presented by journalist Mark Williams-Thomas, said they had not been informed about Baroness Mone’s involvement or where the funding came from. 

Nadra Ahmed, chairman of the National Care Association, told The Sunday Times she was approached to do a general interview about the PPE scandal, adding: ‘I was told it was a documentary about PPE, because I would not have got involved with anything where there was a third party involved unless I knew who they were.’

And former president of the Royal College of Physicians, David Oliver, said: ‘At no point was it mentioned by the production team that they would be receiving funding from PPE Medpro or any other PPE supplier – let alone that they would be using my interview in a documentary that would be giving a platform to Baroness Mone.

‘If either of these things had been made clear to me at any point, I would have refused to be interviewed or have my interview used.’

Mr Williams-Thomas said that at no stage did his team set out to mislead anyone.

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