TORY peer Baroness Michelle Mone is to take a leave of absence from the House of Lords with immediate effect.

Mone has been at the centre of controversy over her alleged links to a firm awarded a PPE contract by the UK Government during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Glasgow-born Baroness is understood to have made £29 million after she recommended the firm PPE Medpro to Tory ministers. 

READ MORE: Michelle Mone's worst moments, from Covid scandals to diet pills

It comes as Labour are preparing to force the UK Government to release records relating to the award of contracts to PPE Medpro.

And, former health secretary Matt Hancock claimed he felt pressured by Mone’s “extraordinarily aggressive” lobbying to help a firm win a contract to supply lateral flow tests.

A spokesman for Mone said: “With immediate effect, Baroness Mone will be taking a leave of absence from the House of Lords in order to clear her name of the allegations that have been unjustly levelled against her.”

The leave of absence means Mone, founder of lingerie brand Ultimo, will not attend sittings of the House, vote on any proceedings and will not be able to claim any allowance.

Mone has previously been criticised for her low attendance in the Lords, with a Sunday National investigation discovering she only attended on four days over a six months period. 

It comes as Labour deputy leader Angela Rayner has accused members of the Tory party of using the pandemic as an “opportunity” to “get rich” as she called for the release of PPE contracts awarded to a company linked to a Conservative peer.

READ MORE: Where Alison Thewliss and Stephen Flynn stand on key SNP issues

The Labour Party will try to force the Government to release records of a £200 million contract awarded to PPE Medpro which Mone may have profited from, according to reports.

Mone has previously denied having any relation to the company.

The Government has also come under fire for the use of “VIP lanes”, whereby preferential treatment for public contracts can be given to organisations recommended by MPs and peers.

Brendan O'Hara MP, the SNP's Cabinet Office spokesperson, said: “The reality is that Baroness Mone should have had the whip removed from her a long time ago while a thorough investigation into her business dealings was carried out.

“Instead, the Tories have turned a blind eye while presiding over an anything-goes culture that has seen vast sums of money given to friends, family and party donors. 

“The exact circumstances surrounding Baroness Mone’s case are now the subject of a National Crime Agency investigation, which must be allowed to proceed without hindrance – but it is clearly for her to answer exactly how much money she and her family have made from these contracts, in what circumstances and what tax arrangements were made. 

The National: O'Hara said Mone should have had the Tory whip removed months agoO'Hara said Mone should have had the Tory whip removed months ago

“But the bottom line in this whole affair is that the stench of sleaze surrounding this broken Tory government has become simply unbearable.”

Rayner said on the Today Programme on Tuesday morning that companies like PPE Medpro were recommended during the pandemic by Tory ministers, MPs and peers, and given “fast track” and “preferential treatment”.

She described the so-called VIP lane as “a scandal of epic proportions”.

READ MORE: Roza Salih named among world's 100 top influential women for 2022

Rayner said that the company was awarded a £122 million contract for gowns that “could not be used” and that £700,000 of “taxpayers’ money” a day is now being wasted on storing the unusable PPE. The company has denied that the kit was faulty.

She added: “This looks very dodgy – people making huge sums of money on PPE that couldn’t be used. It needs to be exposed now. Those documents need to come out and it needs to be out in the open.”

The motion tabled by Labour in the Commons would compel the release of “all papers, advice, and correspondence involving ministers and special advisers, including submissions and electronic communications” relating to the PPE Medpro contracts to the Public Accounts Committee.

The National: Mone has been criticised for her low attendance in the Lords prior to her leave of absenceMone has been criticised for her low attendance in the Lords prior to her leave of absence

Speaking after Mone announced her leave of absence, Rayner said the Tories were "out of excuses".

She added: “They can’t keep taking the public for fools by refusing to come clean on what they knew about this dodgy deal.

“Rishi Sunak was too weak to remove the whip and has left it to Baroness Mone to finally read the writing on the wall.”

READ MORE: SNP Westminster leadership race: Who the MPs are backing

It's understood that Tory MPs have been told the Government won't try to vote down the Labour motion, due to be debated in the Commons on Tuesday afternoon, which means it will likely pass unopposed. 

We previously told how tens of thousands of people signed a petition calling for Mone to be expelled from the Lords.