The Baroness, appearing alongside husband Doug Barrowman, admitted lying to the press about links to a PPE firm awarded £200million in Government contracts during the pandemic. Her car crash TV interview with the BBC’s Laura Kuenssberg faced a furious backlash.
Former Tory MP Anna Soubry accused the lingerie tycoon of appearing on camera for sympathy having been “caught out lying and profiteering off taxpayers”. Ms Soubry said Baroness Mone was now “playing the victim in a desperate attempt to rebuild her reputation”.
One viewer, referring to the royal’s Newsnight interview, said: “Michelle Mone showed about as much self-awareness as Prince Andrew.”
And ex-No10 communications chief Alastair Campbell added: “Perpetrator as victim is rarely a good strategy. Please make sure I never use whichever expensive lawyers and PR people advised them to do this.”
PPE Medpro, set up by Mr Barrowman, was awarded two contracts after Baroness Mone offered to supply PPE.
The Department of Health granted PPE Medpro the work, worth a total of £203million, in May and June 2020. The first contract, for £80.8million, was to supply 210 million face masks. The second was for 25 million sterile surgical gowns, for which the Government paid £122million.
But millions of the gowns were never used because they were rejected by health bosses.
The firm supplied PPE to the NHS through the “VIP lane”, launched to help the Government choose between huge numbers of supplier offers.
Baroness Mone and Mr Barrowman repeatedly denied links to PPE Medpro, which made £60million in profits from the deals. But yesterday, she admitted she and her children are beneficiaries of financial trusts where the money is being held.
The couple are under investigation as part of a probe into conspiracy to defraud, fraud by false representation and bribery. During the interview, Baroness Mone, 52, said: “I should have said I am involved straight away, but I didn’t want the press intrusion.
“My family have gone through hell with the media over my career, and I didn’t want another big hoo-ha.
“I wasn’t trying to pull the wool over anyone’s eyes, and I regret and I’m sorry for not saying straight out, yes, I am involved.” Baroness Mone, made a peer by Lord David Cameron in 2015, said: “I don’t honestly see there is a case to answer. I can’t see what we have done wrong.”
She said her life was “destroyed” by allegations, even though “we’ve only done one thing, which was lie to the press to say we weren’t involved”.