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Michelle Mone: Who is she and what is the PPE controversy swirling around the Tory peer?

By Josephine Franks, news reporter

Baroness Michelle Mone says the public perception of her is of a “horrible person, a liar, a cheat and a thief” due to a controversial PPE deal during the pandemic.

But who is the Tory peer, what was so controversial about the PPE contracts and why is she back in the spotlight? Here’s everything you need to know.

Who is Baroness Mone?

The 52-year-old is a businesswoman and the founder of lingerie company Ultimo.

Born in Glasgow, she left school with no qualifications at 15 and went on to launch ventures in diet pills, fake tan and cryptocurrency. She became a Conservative life peer in 2015.

What is the PPE controversy?

The row around PPE Medpro started swirling back in 2020, when reporters first began asking questions about Baroness Mone’s apparent links to the company.

In 2021, the government revealed that she had referred PPE Medpro via the VIP lane system, with the company awarded two contracts worth £200m.

Baroness Mone faced allegations that she had profited from the business, a claim she initially denied.

She took a leave of absence from the House of Lords in 2022 as a result, in order to “clear her name of the allegations that have been unjustly levelled against her”.

The contracts are still being investigated by the National Crime Agency (NCA).

What did she say initially?

Baroness Mone consistently denied any “role or function” in the company up until November 2023, with lawyers previously saying she is “not connected to PPE Medpro in any capacity”.

Asked in November 2021 why Baroness Mone did not declare PPE Medpro on her Lords register of interests, her lawyer told the Guardian: “For the avoidance of any doubt, Baroness Mone did not declare any interest as she did not benefit financially and was not connected to PPE Medpro in any capacity.”

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