Baroness Michelle Mone says she regrets denying her connection to a PPE firm that won huge contracts during the pandemic – and is now being investigated by the National Crime Agency (NCA).
After a silence that lasted nearly two years, the Ultimo bra magnate has taken part in a YouTube documentary funded by the same company, PPE Medpro.
She and her husband, Doug Barrowman, have been the subject of a “kangaroo court,” she said.
The public now sees her as a “terrible person, a liar, a cheat, a thief” and she and Mr Barrowman “just can’t take it anymore”, she added.
In 2020, PPE Medpro was awarded government contracts worth more than £200 million to supply masks and gowns after she recommended it to ministers.
There was a so-called “VIP lane” that allowed politicians and civil servants to send private offers of PPE to the government. But Baroness Mone said the first she knew of such access was when she read about it.
In November 2020, Baroness Mone said via her lawyer that she was “not associated in any way with PPE Medpro”, The Guardian reported.
Lawyers for her husband, Mr Barrowman, also denied his involvement, saying he “never had any role or function in PPE Medpro”, the newspaper added.
Now, however, Baroness Mone has said in the documentary: “I regret not immediately telling the press, ‘yes, I’m involved’,” describing it as a “mistake”.
She added: “The Government knew I was involved and the emergency team, the cabinet team, knew I was involved – the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC), knew I was involved, the NHS – all of them.
“The legal team advised me and my husband not to comment or say anything about my involvement with PPE Medpro.”
‘We haven’t done anything wrong – it’s cruel, it’s ugly’
Baroness Mone was a “conduit” and a “liaison” who “brought it all together”, she said.
She added: “I wanted the NHS to succeed, I wanted a win-win situation for everyone.
“Both myself and my husband declared their interests, and if they had any problem with that at all, knowing my involvement and my husband’s involvement, why did they ever give the contracts in the first place?
“They must have been pleased – they knew everything.”
Baroness Mone and her husband decided to speak out, she said, because they are “sick and tired of reading all the lies every single day in the media”.
Asked how it would end, she said: “We will win because we have done nothing wrong and it is cruel and it is ugly but we will win.”
‘Look into that VIP lane’
Regarding PPE Medpro, Baroness Mone said: “I provided their names [and] the guys got the contracts on their own merits.”
Asked if she received favorable treatment from the DHSC and the government because she was a baroness, she said: “Absolutely not.”
If that was the case, she continued, “you’d have to look at all the other MPs, baronesses, lords, senior civil servants who all put forward names that went into that VIP lane”.
She added: “They should all be the same as me right now – why aren’t they?”
Regarding discussion of the case on social media, Baroness Mone said she and Mr Barrowman had been subjected to a “kangaroo court” where everyone had “made up their minds”.
According to the UK Parliament website, PPE Medpro was established on 12 May 2020 and “awarded its first £81 million contract on 12 June for the supply of 210 million face masks”.
DHSC awarded a second contract on 26 June worth £122m for the supply of sterile surgical gowns.
The department has since issued a breach of contract proceeding over the 2020 dress supply agreement.
Sky News has not been able to pass the allegations directly to Baroness Mone.