The Conservative adjacent Michelle Mone and her husband, Douglas Barrowman, person denied the Guardian reports exposing their links to PPE Medpro. Over 2 years, the mates repeatedly distanced themselves from the company, which secured much than £200m successful authorities contracts.
Dismissing mounting grounds pointing to their secret involvement successful the PPE business, they insisted they had small oregon thing to bash with the company. Lawyers for the mates person variously accused reporters of “clutching astatine straws”, making allegations that were “largely incorrect” and “grounded wholly connected supposition and speculation and not based connected accuracy”.
One lawyer for Lady Mone appeared to cull the precise conception that the Tory adjacent should person to reply questions from journalists. “You … look to misunderstand our client’s responsibilities to you,” helium wrote. “She is nether nary work to accidental thing to you.”
Here are 7 claims made by representatives of the Tory peer, her hubby and PPE Medpro – and what we cognize astir them.
Tory adjacent had ‘no role’ successful process by which PPE Medpro secured contracts
In December 2020, erstwhile reporters archetypal began asking questions astir Mone’s evident links to a idiosyncratic protective instrumentality institution that had secured lucrative authorities contracts, her lawyer replied: “Baroness Mone has ne'er had immoderate relation oregon relation successful PPE Medpro, nor successful the process by which contracts were awarded to PPE Medpro.” And PPE Medpro said: “PPE Medpro was not awarded the declaration due to the fact that of institution oregon idiosyncratic connections to the UK authorities oregon the Conservative party.”
What we know: Mone contacted the past Cabinet Office curate Michael Gove and her chap Tory adjacent Theodore Agnew successful May 2020, offering to proviso PPE “through my squad successful Hong Kong”. Agnew, besides past a Cabinet Office minister, referred PPE Medpro to the “VIP” lane, done which it was awarded the authorities contracts.
Mone’s referral of PPE Medpro was a ‘solitary’ step
After the authorities revealed successful November 2021 that Mone had recommended PPE Medpro to Gove and Agnew, Mone’s lawyer stated: “Having taken the precise simple, solitary and little measurement of referring PPE Medpro arsenic a imaginable supplier to the bureau of Lord Agnew, our lawsuit did not bash thing further successful respect of PPE Medpro.”
What we know: Five months aft the expected “solitary step”, successful October 2020, Mone seemingly lobbied different minister, James Bethell, connected behalf of PPE Medpro, successful a failed bid to unafraid the institution Covid investigating contracts from the government. Four months aft that, successful February 2021, Jacqui Rock, the main commercialized serviceman for the government’s test-and-trace programme, emailed colleagues suggesting that Mone was inactive lobbying for investigating contracts, stating: “Baroness Mone is going to Michael Gove and Matt Hancock contiguous arsenic she is incandescent with rage connected the mode she believes Medpro person been treating [sic] successful the matter.”
Mone had ‘no engagement successful the business’ of PPE Medpro
Deploying the connection of assertive ineligible threats, Mone’s lawyers person repeatedly rejected that she was “connected successful immoderate way” to the business. One lawyer said successful December 2020 that “any proposition of an association” betwixt the Tory adjacent and PPE Medpro would beryllium “inaccurate”, “misleading” and “defamatory”. Another said successful February 2022: “You person present been placed connected announcement connected galore occasions of our client’s presumption successful narration to PPE Medpro. She has nary engagement successful the business.”
What we know: Documents seen by the Guardian appeared to amusement that too repeatedly lobbying the authorities connected behalf of PPE Medpro betwixt May 2020 and February 2021, the Tory adjacent was progressive – with her hubby – behind the scenes successful the company’s concern affairs. Documents look to amusement Mone and Barrowman included successful correspondence successful June 2020 between PPE Medpro’s suppliers astir the outgo terms of the surgical gowns to beryllium supplied nether the 2nd contract.
WhatsApp messages sent by Mone look to amusement her successful June 2020 discussing with a idiosyncratic successful the PPE Medpro proviso concatenation the required sizes of the gowns, and details astir the government’s acquisition bid process.
Mone ‘did not payment financially’ from PPE Medpro
Asked successful November 2021 wherefore Mone did not state PPE Medpro connected her Lords registry of interests, her lawyer replied: “For the avoidance of immoderate doubt, Baroness Mone did not state immoderate involvement arsenic she did not payment financially and was not connected to PPE Medpro successful immoderate capacity.”
What we know: Documents seen by the Guardian bespeak that Mone received £29m originating from the profits of PPE Medpro successful October 2020. The wealth was paid into an Isle of Man spot of which she and her big children were the beneficiaries. It was paid by Barrowman, who received astatine slightest £65m successful PPE Medpro profits earlier distributing them done a web of offshore trusts, companies and accounts.
Barrowman is understood to person told his slope that the onward transportation of its profits via his idiosyncratic slope relationship had been made “in his idiosyncratic capacity”. Contacted astir the caller disclosures, a lawyer for Mone said: “There are a fig of reasons wherefore our lawsuit cannot remark connected these issues and she is nether nary work to bash so.” A lawyer who represents some Barrowman and PPE Medpro added that helium had been instructed to accidental “that determination is overmuch inaccuracy successful the portrayal of the alleged ‘facts’ and a fig of them are wholly wrong”.
Barrowman was ‘not an investor’ successful PPE Medpro
In December 2020, a lawyer instructed by Barrowman told the Guardian: “Mr Barrowman is not an investor, manager oregon shareholder successful PPE Medpro.” In different correspondence they stated that Barrowman had ne'er been an capitalist successful the company, utilizing past tense.
What we know: Documents seen by the Guardian bespeak that Barrowman was an investor, lending a £3m archetypal superior injection to PPE Medpro from 1 of his offshore trusts, successful June 2020. The concern was subsequently repaid, with interest. Contacted this week, PPE Medpro declined to remark astir whether Barrowman had invested successful the company. Barrowman besides declined to connection further comment, citing unrecorded investigations, but his lawyer said helium disputes the Guardian’s “claims and accusations”.
Barrowman had ‘no role’ successful process done which PPE Medpro was awarded contracts
Also successful December 2020, Barrowman’s lawyers said helium “was not personally progressive successful moving for [PPE Medpro] successful narration to PPE contracts” and “never had immoderate relation oregon relation successful PPE Medpro, nor successful the process by which contracts were awarded to PPE Medpro”.
What we know: Documents suggest Barrowman was centrally progressive successful mounting up PPE Medpro’s concern woody with its proviso concatenation spouse institution Loudwater Trade and Finance. Around the clip PPE Medpro was securing the authorities contracts, Barrowman personally participated successful a telephone with a Cabinet Office authoritative connected its behalf, documents indicate.
PPE Medpro’s gowns ‘kept NHS workers safe’
In a property merchandise issued successful December 2020, PPE Medpro claimed: “We are arrogant of the information that we provided 210,000,000 [face] masks and 25,000,000 gowns, which undoubtedly helped support our NHS workers harmless astatine a clip of shortages owed to the Covid pandemic.”
What we know: The 25m surgical gowns, for which the authorities paid PPE Medpro £122m, were rejected by the Department of Health and Social Care aft method inspection and were ne'er utilized successful the NHS. The DHSC has been trying to recoup its money done a quality solution process. PPE Medpro insists its gowns passed method checks and the institution is entitled to support the £122m. Either way, they person ne'er been utilized to support NHS workers safe.