Michelle Mone has been accused of trying to ‘bully and harass’ ministers into awarding public PPE contracts worth more than £200m to a company she appeared to be profiting from.
The Guardian revealed last month that the Tory peer and her children had secretly received £29m from the profits of a PPE company which had won major government contracts after recommending it to ministers.
Now Whitehall sources have told The Sunday Times that Mone lobbied Michael Gove and Lord Agnew at the start of the pandemic in 2020 to secure business for PPE Medpro.
The newspaper reported that Mone wrote to Gove, then Cabinet Office minister, and Agnew, who was his deputy in charge of procurement, on their personal email addresses.
She wrote: “We managed to source PPE masks through my team in Hong Kong. In order to commit to these 100,000 [masks] per day, could you please get back to me as soon as possible as the freight will also need to be secured. »
When she felt the government was taking too long to respond, the pair reportedly urged Agnew via email and phone to “speed up” the process. “She was rude, abrasive and intimidating,” a source close to the VIP channel said. “His nagging tone was very irritating.”
At one point an exasperated Gove reportedly described her as “a real pain in the ass”.
A government source stressed that ministers do not make decisions on awarding contracts.
A secret offshore trust which had Mone, 51, and her children as beneficiaries received £29million from profits from PPE Medpro, which provided face masks and medical gowns, according to bank statements seen by the Guardian.
It comes after Rishi Sunak faced calls from major opposition parties to remove the lingerie entrepreneur’s Tory whip in the House of Lords.
A Tory Lords spokesman said Mone would not have the whip suspended while the National Crime Agency investigates the company and a Lords standards committee investigates the allegations.
The company won major government contracts after the Tory peer helped it secure a place in a ‘VIP lane’ which the government used to prioritize PPE suppliers who had political connections.
Asked by the Guardian last year why Mone had not included PPE Medpro in her House of Lords register of financial interests, her solicitor replied: ‘Baroness Mone has declared no interest as she has none not benefited financially and was not related to PPE Medpro in any way. ability.”
Leaked documents reported by the Guardian last week indicate that Mone’s husband, Isle of Man-based financier Douglas Barrowman, received at least £65m in profits from EPP Medpro and then distributed the funds via a range of offshore accounts, trusts and companies.
The end recipients of the funds, the documents say, include the Isle of Man trust which was set up for the benefit of Mone, who was Barrowman’s fiancée at the time, and his three adult children.
In October 2020, the documents suggest Barrowman transferred £28.8m from the profits of PPE Medpro to the trust.
Last month, a lawyer for Mone said: ‘There are a number of reasons why our client cannot comment on these matters and she is under no obligation to do so.
A lawyer who represents both Barrowman and PPE Medpro said at the time that an ongoing investigation limited what his clients could say about those issues. He added: “At this time we are also instructed to say that there are many inaccuracies in the description of the alleged ‘facts’ and a number of them are completely untrue.”
Mone previously said, “I completely refute these allegations. I have been asked to help in times of national emergency. I declared all necessary interests and did nothing wrong. I will cooperate fully with any investigation.