TORY peer Michelle Mone has admitted her involvement with a “VIP lane” PPE company for the first time.

PPE Medpro was awarded UK Government contracts worth £200 million during the Covid pandemic, and Mone and her husband Douglas Barrowman have consistently and repeatedly denied any involvement with the firm in the past.

Glasgow-born Baroness Mone began a leave of absence from the House of Lords in December 2022 as pressure and controversy mounted over her links to the PPE contract.

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In 2020, Mone’s lawyer stated categorically that she was “not connected in any way with PPE Medpro”, with Barrowman’s lawyers repeatedly denying he was an investor in the company and that he “never had any role or function” with the firm.

However, a representative for the couple and spokesperson for PPE Medpro admitted in response to the Guardian that disputed the previous assertions made to the newspaper.

The representative told the Guardian: “The UK Government was fully aware of Baroness Mone’s involvement; like many other peers and MPs on the high priority lane, she acted as an intermediary/liaison between PPE Medpro and the Cabinet Office/Department of Health and Social Care.”

They added that Barrowman, who runs tax and wealth advisory firm Knox Group based in the Isle of Man, “was the chairman and leader of the PPE Medpro consortium that supplied the UK government”.

The National:

The “consortium” was a partnership between PPE Medpro and Loudwater Trade and Finance, based in London, and Hong Kong firm Eric Beare Associates, which were involved in sourcing the PPE.

Barrowman provided half the money up front through his “family office”, through the Knox firm controlled by him and is understood to manage his private wealth.

“The Knox 50% was provided by the Family Office of Doug Barrowman,” the representative said.

PPE Medpro were granted two contracts by the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) in May and June 2020 in the early months of the pandemic, to supply millions of face masks and sterile surgical counts. The contracts amounted to a total of £203 million.

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Later that year when the contracts were made public, Mone and Barrowman repeatedly denied involvement with the firm.

Barrowman was reportedly paid at least £65m from PPE Medpro’s profits, later transferring £29m into a trust for Mone and her three adult children.

In a new statement released to the Guardian, the couple’s representative said the pair had informed the government they were involved in the firm from the beginning.

“Both Doug Barrowman and his wife, Baroness Mone, made a full written disclosure of their involvement to the Cabinet Office prior to the award of the PPE contracts,” the representative said.

The National: Michelle Mone

“The UK Government was fully aware of Mr Barrowman’s role and that his group would make a commercial profit.”

We told last year how the UK Government had initiated legal action against PPE Medpro for breach of contract over the supply of sterile gowns, with reports suggesting officials were seeking to recoup £122m plus further costs.

And, prior to taking a leave of absence from the Lords, tens of thousands of people signed a petition calling for Mone to be expelled from the second House and her Baroness title removed.