Gove faces calls to answer MP questions after Michelle Mone names him over PPE scandal

17 December 2023, 22:24 | Updated: 17 December 2023, 23:12

Michael Gove is facing calls to appear before MPs to answer questions over PPE firm Medpro after Baroness Michelle Mone admitted she stands to benefit from a deal between the Government and the firm.
Michael Gove is facing calls to appear before MPs to answer questions over PPE firm Medpro after Baroness Michelle Mone admitted she stands to benefit from a deal between the Government and the firm. Picture: Alamy

By Chay Quinn

Michael Gove is facing calls to appear before MPs to answer questions over PPE firm Medpro after Baroness Michelle Mone admitted she stands to benefit from a deal between the Government and the firm.

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The Cabinet minister, who was chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster when the pandemic struck, was name-checked by Lady Mone in her first major broadcast interview since the scandal emerged.

Michelle Mone said in a BBC interview she stands to benefit from a contract between the government and the Covid equipment company PPE Medpro.

Read More: Michelle Mone admits she stands to benefit from £60 million Covid equipment profit

PPE Medpro was given government contracts worth over £200 million to supply protective equipment during the pandemic, after the Conservative peer recommended it to ministers.

Guests Arrive At The Laura Keunssberg Show
Guests Arrive At The Laura Keunssberg Show. Picture: Getty

She has previously denied links to the company which is under investigation by the National Crime Agency (NCA).

Shadow Cabinet Office minister Nick Thomas-Symonds has now called on Mr Gove to answer questions following her claim.

In a letter to Mr Gove, he said: "This series of events has led to civil litigation and a National Crime Agency investigation. Yet these ongoing matters should not preclude you from addressing questions about your own involvement and the role of the Government.

"Events so far expose a shocking recklessness by the Conservative government with regard to public money, and a sorry tale of incompetence in relation to the so-called 'VIP Lane' for procurement during the pandemic."

Baroness Mone admitted on Sunday that she is a beneficiary of her husband Doug Barrowman's financial trusts, which hold around £60m of profit from the government deal.

She also said that denying her connection to Medpro was a mistake.

But Baroness Mone told the BBC's Laura Kuenssberg that she and Mr Barrowman have been made scapegoats for wider failings in the government's handling of PPE requirements during Covid.

Michelle Mone 'admits involvement in VIP Lane PPE company' for first time

"If one day, if God forbid, my husband passes away before me, then I am a beneficiary, as well as his children and my children, so yes, of course," she said.

Baroness Mone said she did not mean to fool anyone, despite admitting the couple misled the press about their involvement.

"I did make an error in saying to the press that I wasn't involved," she said.

Michelle Mone
Michelle Mone. Picture: Alamy

"Hindsight is a wonderful thing. 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."

She said that the government and the NHS knew she was involved, and she had declared her interest with the Cabinet Office.

Baroness Mone, who was interviewed alongside her husband, recently told a YouTube documentary that they both would be cleared, arguing they have "done nothing wrong".

Michelle Mone and her husband Doug Barrowman
Michelle Mone and her husband Doug Barrowman. Picture: Getty

Baroness Mone, a lingerie entrepreneur, was made a Conservative peer in 2015 by David Cameron. She took a leave of absence from the House of Lords last year, saying she wanted to clear her name.

Millions of medical gowns supplied by PPE Medpro were never used, and the company is facing a civil claim from the department of health and social care. Baroness Mone said the gowns were supplied in line with the contract.

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