Baroness Mone admits 'error' in publicly denying links to PPE firm

Tory peer Baroness Mone admits ‘error’ in publicly denying links to PPE firm as she breaks her silence in YouTube documentary – revealing she’s had sleepless nights and panic attacks over scandal

  • Lady Mone said in a documentary aired today that she has ‘done nothing wrong’

Baroness Michelle Mone has admitted she made an ‘error’ in denying her links to the PPE Medpro firm being investigated by the National Crime Agency – and she now struggles to sleep and suffers panic attacks over the scandal.

The Conservative peer and Ultimo bra tycoon launched a public defence today over the controversy surrounding ‘VIP lane’ contracts during the coronavirus pandemic.

PPE Medpro was awarded Government contracts worth more than £200 million to supply personal protective equipment after she recommended it to ministers.

The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) has since issued breach of contract proceedings over the 2020 deal on the supply of gowns.

Lady Mone spoke in a documentary aired today to say she and her husband Doug Barrowman will be cleared because ‘we’ve done nothing wrong’.

But she did admit her ‘regret’ in not being upfront about her links to the PPE company straight away, saying she made an ‘error’.

The Baroness went on to say she suffers from panic attacks and nightmares about the NCA ‘crashing through the house’ and she sees them standing over her bed.

Baroness Michelle Mone (pictured) spoke for the first time today in a YouTube documentary about the controversy surrounding ‘VIP lane’ contracts

Lady Mone spoke of her ‘regret’ in not being upfront about her links to the PPE company

Lady Mone and her husband Doug Barrowman (pictured) said they’ve ‘done nothing wrong’

Michelle Mone opens the new Ultimo concession at Debenhams, Glasgow in 2015

Doug Barrowman (left) pictured with Baroness Michelle Mone (right) at Cheltenham in 2019

The pair denied, via lawyers, involvement with PPE Medpro for three years. The pair pictured at Casa Do Lago restaurant in Quinta do Lago, in February this year

While the rest of the UK was under strict lockdown, the couple married and were able to share their celebrations with 90 guests, thanks to the Isle of Man’s decision to scrap social distancing, before jetting off on honeymoon to the Maldives.

But, behind these jubilant scenes, trouble was already brewing for the mega-rich lovebirds. Just a month after their lavish nuptials, journalists began asking questions about Lady Mone’s links to PPE Medpro.

She consistently denied any ‘role or function’ in the company, with her lawyers insisting she was ‘not connected to PPE Medpro in any capacity’. 

But it later emerged that the former model contacted then Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove and fellow Tory peer Theodore Agnew in May 2020, offering to supply PPE equipment ‘via my team in Hong Kong’ — five days before PPE Medpro was even incorporated as a company by her husband’s business associates.

The firm was then fast-tracked by the Government through its ‘VIP lane’ for politically connected companies.

READ MORE – Tory peer Michelle Mone and her husband admit for the first time their involvement with firm at centre of fraud probe after being awarded £200m in PPE contracts during the pandemic 

She and her husband broke their silence today in the documentary where they spoke to Mark Williams-Thomas, an investigative journalist who is best known for exposing Jimmy Saville as a paedophile in The Other Side of Jimmy Saville, a television documentary he presented in 2012.

Lady Mone had initially denied having any links to PPE Medpro but admitted in the film: ‘I made an error in what I said to the press.

‘I regret not saying to the press straight away, ‘Yes, I am involved.’ And the Government knew I was involved.’

The film, part of a public fightback, was funded by PPE Medpro, according to the Sunday Telegraph.

Lady Mone, who was made a peer by Lord David Cameron in 2015, claimed it is ‘100% a lie’ to suggest she was not transparent with officials, and her husband claimed a ‘DHSC negotiator’ suggested the case could ‘go away’ for the right sum.

She said in the documentary: ‘It’s 100 per cent a lie. It’s not true. I wanted the guys to succeed, I wanted the NHS to succeed. I wanted a win-win situation.’ 

When asked what she felt when the pandemic hit, she said: ‘I thought I could fix it. I could fix it by getting quality PPE on time at the best prices.’

The Baroness said she is now breaking her silence on the controversy as she ‘just can’t take it anymore’.

She claimed she has received messages from people calling for her to be put in jail, for her to be ‘put in an orange jumpsuit’ and even someone who wrote ‘I’m going to throw acid on her’.

The scandal has negatively affected her mental health, as she admitted she is seeing a doctor and is on medicine currently.

The pair met with investigative journalist Mark Williams-Thomas for the documentary

She was made a Conservative life peer in 2015 (pictured in 2019 at the House of Lords)

Baroness Mone and Douglas Barrowman at ‘Dining With The Stars’ charity dinner in 2019

She said: ‘I’m not doing well at the moment with my mental health. I don’t want people to feel sorry for me but I’m in a lot of pain and I’m struggling.

‘It’s been a real fight. But we will win because we’ve done nothing wrong. It’s cruel and it’s nasty but we will win.’

Lady Mone argued she is being used as a scapegoat by the Government for its own Covid failings.

READ MORE – Tory peer Michelle Mone says she and her billionaire husband have ‘done nothing wrong’ on PPE amid probe into deals worth £200million 

‘I am ashamed of being a Conservative peer given what this Government has done to us,’ she told The Telegraph.

Levelling Up Secretary Michael Gove, who allegedly had involvement in the contract process, insisted that ‘ministers did not take individual decisions’ on pandemic contracts.

Mr Gove told the BBC’s Sunday With Laura Kuenssberg programme: ‘Those decisions were taken after a painstaking process by teams of civil servants who assess the worthiness of any contract that’s put forward.

‘So the suggestion, which some have put forward, that somehow ministers were seeking deliberately to do favours, or line the pockets of other individuals, I think is totally unjustified because the decisions were only taken after a proper, coherent and fair procurement process.

‘As with any procurement process, might it sometimes be the case that the goods which have been bought turn out to not to be adequate – that is deeply regrettable but that is a consequence of what happened at pressure.’

Matt Hancock and Mr Gove were both questioned by NCA as part of their investigation.

Others questioned include Lord Bethell, a former Health Minister, and Lord Agnew, who served in the Cabinet Office. 

Former Health Secretary Hancock has previously claimed the Baroness sent him ‘aggressive’ emails.

In response, she said in the film: ‘I can sometimes come across as feisty, but I’m not aggressive, I’m not abusive. To be honest, I’m not a fan of his anyway.’

Mr Hancock was responsible for four companies being referred to the VIP contracts scheme.

One of them was Excalibur Healthcare Services, a medical company run by a Labour donor that was asked to provide ventilators.

The firm charged £135 million, or £50,000 each, to supply 2,700 ventilators. Three weeks earlier another company had provided the same model of VG70 ventilator for £8,800, according to the Times.

A DHSC spokesman said: ‘We do not comment on ongoing legal cases.’

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