Baroness Mone goes on ‘leave of absence’ from House of Lords to ‘clear her name’ as she faces allegations over links to firm that won PPE contract during pandemic
- Baroness Mone has said she is taking ‘leave of absence’ from the House of Lords
- The Tory peer vowing to clear her name after allegations over firm’s PPE contract
- She will not be taking part in Lords sittings or votes while on leave of absence
Baroness Mone is taking a ‘leave of absence’ from the House of Lords as she faces claims over links to a firm that won a PPE contract during Covid.
The Tory peer is temporarily standing aside from the Upper House with immediate effect ‘in order to clear her name of the allegations that have been unjustly levelled.’
Lady Mone is under investigation by the House of Lords Commissioners for Standards for allegedly failing to declare an interest in the firm PPE Medpro which won a £200million Government contract at the height of the pandemic.
Baroness Mone is taking a ‘leave of absence’ from the House of Lords as she faces claims over links to a firm that won a PPE contract during the pandemic
Hancock hits out at ‘aggressive’ lobbying from Baroness Mone
Matt Hancock has claimed that he felt pressured by Michelle Mone’s ‘extraordinarily aggressive’ lobbying to try to help a firm win a contract to supply Covid lateral flow tests.
In his explosive Pandemic Diaries, the former health secretary accuses the Tory peer of sending him a ‘threatening’ message complaining the company she was helping had not secured a lucrative deal.
Mr Hancock says in his book, which is being serialised on The Mail+ and in the Daily Mail, that by the end of the email she had ‘worked herself into a complete frenzy’ and was throwing around ‘wild accusations’.
A spokesman for Lady Mone said: ‘With immediate effect, Baroness Mone will be taking a leave of absence from the House of Lords in order to clear her name of the allegations that have been unjustly levelled against her.’
The leave of absence means the peer – known as ‘Baroness Bra’ as she made her fortune with a lingerie brand – will not attend sittings of the House, vote on any proceedings and will not be able to claim any allowance.
The news came as Labour launched a bid to force the Government to release records of a £200million contract awarded to PPE Medpro.
The Guardian newspaper last week reported that the Conservative peer and her children received £29million originating from profits of the company.
Lady Mone has consistently denied any ‘role or function’ in the company, and her lawyers have previously said she is ‘not connected to PPE Medpro in any capacity’.
A House of Lords spokesman said: ‘Baroness Mone has indicated she intends to request to take leave of absence from the House of Lords.
‘Members request leave of absence by writing to the Clerk of the Parliaments. In doing so, they must confirm when they intend to return to the House.
‘The Clerk will take a decision once he has received the formal request and after consulting with others as required.’
An humble address motion is being tabled today to force a binding Commons vote that would secure the release of documents relating to the contracts.
Tory MPs are not expected to be ordered to oppose the motion, which will require the details of the contracts to be handed to the Commons Public Accounts Committee.
Labour deputy leader Angela Rayner has accused Tories of using the pandemic as an ‘opportunity’ to ‘get rich’ as she called for the release of PPE contracts.
Ms Rayner told BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme that companies like PPE Medpro were recommended during the pandemic by Tory ministers, MPs and peers, and given ‘fast track’ and ‘preferential treatment’.
She described the so-called VIP lane as ‘a scandal of epic proportions’.
She said that the company was awarded a £122million contract for gowns that ‘could not be used’ and that £700,000 of ‘taxpayers’ money’ a day is now being wasted on storing the unusable PPE. The company has denied that the kit was faulty.
Ms Rayner added: ‘This looks very dodgy – people making huge sums of money on PPE that couldn’t be used. It needs to be exposed now. Those documents need to come out and it needs to be out in the open.’
Labour (deputy leader Angela Rayner pictured) launched a bid to force the Government to release records of a £200million contract awarded to PPE Medpro