By John Smith •
Published: 11 Dec 2023 • 16:03
Baroness Mone and husband Doug Barrowman
Credit: Lady Michelle Mone X (Twitter)
“My husband and I have been used as a scapegoat by the government for their own failings on PPE procurement.”
This is a statement made by Baroness Mone when promoting a new documentary on YouTube which has been financed by the very company being sued by the UK government for £122 million plus costs for “breach of contract and unjust enrichment”, PPE Medpro.
As a young woman growing up in Glasgow, she left school at the age of 15 with the idea of becoming a model and within a matter of years had moved into marketing, quickly achieving a senior position before being made redundant in her early 20s.
She used her redundancy money to set up her own business and by 1996 she founded MJM International with her then-husband but in 1999, the creation of the Ultimo lingerie brand was when her business empire really took off.
Michelle Mone created a new style of bra which offered uplift comfortably and Ultimo basically made her a millionaire and apart from a hiccup with a failed cryptocurrency launch which was supposed to raise $80 million but reportedly didn’t even rise $1 million, she continued to have success.
In 2015 amidst much criticism she was made a life peer by then PM David Cameron but since then has been conspicuous by her absence in the House of Lords and has only given five speeches.
In May 2020 PPE Medpro was sat up on the Isle of Man and both Baroness Mone and her second husband Doug Barrowman were understood to have involvement of some kind in the company.
Just one month later it won its first contract to supply 210 million facemasks at a cost of £88.5 million and two weeks later a further contract for 25 million surgical gowns at a cost of £122 million all without going through a tender process because of the Covid-19 emergency regulations.
Until now, Baroness Mone has refused to acknowledge any involvement with PPE Medpro and in December 2020 her lawyers said she had “no role or function” in the firm.
Since that time, an investigation has been opened into the potential criminal offences in relation to the procurement of PPE contracts by Britain’s National Crime Agency and the Government announced in December 2022 that it would sue PPE Medpro for £122 million plus costs as the gowns supplied “did not comply with the specification in the contract” and could not be used although PPE Medpro refutes this.
Having taken a leave of absence from the House of Lords to effectively clear her name, Baroness Mone has kept a low profile despite the fact that various National Newspapers have accused her and family of being potential beneficiaries of profits from PPE Medpro.
Now she and her husband have taken a stance to support the contents of the documentary which has been launched with the following explanation;
“Now in a TV first, multi award winning Investigative Reporter Mark Williams-Thomas has turned his attention on the Government’s response to the COVID Pandemic and the role of MP’s and Peers. And, in a particularly difficult investigation, has gained exclusive access to Baroness Michelle Mone and her husband Doug Barrowman.”
In the documentary she does admit that she regrets not having confirmed that she did have some involvement with the company but did so on legal advice.
Time will no doubt tell what exactly happened and indeed who the owners of PPE Medpro may be.
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Married to Ophelia in Gibraltar in 1978, John has spent much of his life travelling on security print and minting business and visited every continent except Antarctica.
Having retired several years ago, the couple moved to their house in Estepona and John became a regular news writer for the EWN Media Group taking particular interest in Finance, Gibraltar and Costa del Sol Social Scene.
Currently he is acting as Editorial Consultant for the paper helping to shape its future development.
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