Baroness Michelle Mone says she regrets denying her connection to a PPE firm awarded huge contracts during the pandemic – and which is now being investigated by the National Crime Agency (NCA).
Following a silence lasting almost two years, the Ultimo bra tycoon 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 perceives her as a “horrible person, a liar, a cheat, a thief”, and she and Mr Barrowman “just can’t take anymore”, she added.
In 2020, PPE Medpro was awarded government contracts worth more than £200m to supply masks and gowns after she recommended it to ministers.
There was a so-called “VIP lane”, allowing politicians and officials 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 connected 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 saying to the press straight away, ‘yes I am involved’,” describing it as an “error”.
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 myself and my husband not to comment and not to say of my involvement in PPE Medpro.”
‘We’ve done nothing wrong – it’s cruel, it’s nasty’
Baroness Mone was a “conduit” and a “liaison person” 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 issue with that whatsoever, when they knew of my involvement and my husband’s involvement, why did they ever give the contracts in the first place?
“They must have been satisfied – 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’ve done nothing wrong, and it’s cruel, and it’s nasty, but we will win.”
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‘Look into that VIP lane’
Regarding PPE Medpro, Baroness Mone said: “I put their names forward [and] the guys got the contracts on their own merits.”
Asked if she got favourable treatment from the DHSC and the government because she was a baroness, she said: “Absolutely not.”
If that was the case, she went on, “you should look at all the other MPs, baronesses, lords, senior civil servants that all put names forward that went into that VIP lane”.
She added: “They should all be the same as me right now – why are they not?”
Regarding discussion of the case on social media, Baroness Mone said she and Mr Barrowman had been subject to a “kangaroo court” in which everyone has “made their mind up”.
According to the UK Parliament website, PPE Medpro was set up on 12 May 2020 and “awarded its first contract, worth £81m, on 12 June to supply 210 million face masks”.
The DHSC awarded a second contract on 26 June, worth £122m, to supply sterile surgical gowns.
The department has since issued breach of contract proceedings over the 2020 deal for the supply of gowns.
Sky News has not been able to put the allegations directly to Baroness Mone.