HOME Secretary James Cleverly dodged a question on the PPE controversy surrounding Michelle Mone and her husband during an interview with the BBC.

It comes after Mone’s husband Doug Barrowman released a new statement on Monday in which he said his family had been “treated like a punchbag by the media for the past three years”.

The statement added that “Michelle and I are being hung out to dry to distract attention from government incompetence in how it handled PPR procurement”.

During an interview with the BBC last month, Mone admitted she stands to benefit from a contract between the UK Government and PPE firm Medpro.

Appearing on Radio 4, Cleverly was asked by host Mishal Husain: “In the three years that she (Mone) and her husband denied involvement with PPE Medpro, why didn’t the Government simply say ‘yes, a company linked to the husband of a Conservative peer was given a major contract and yes it was introduced by the peer herself’. Why not be open about that?”

The Home Secretary replied: “Well look as you know there is an investigation into what happened in those circumstances.

“I’m not going to start discussing something which may ultimately form part of that investigation.”

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The host replied her question was not about the investigation, which Cleverly disagreed with before Husain said it was about “openness and transparency” about the awarding of the contract in the first place.

Cleverly added: “As I say, the circumstances around needing to get large amounts of PPE at a very, very short notice in a very competitive international market are now well explored.

“The detail of that particular arrangement is being investigated and I’m not going to say anything that would impinge on the independence or integrity of that investigation.”

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Husain asked if the Government was reluctant to be open because it looked like “cronyism” to which Cleverly (above) continued to reply he would not comment due to the ongoing investigation.

“I’m a member of Government and you’re inviting me to comment on an investigation and I’m not going to do so because I don’t want to say anything that may impinge upon the independence of that investigation,” he said.