March 4, 2024

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Michelle Moon responds to Rishi Sunak over PPE scandal

Michelle Moon responds to Rishi Sunak over PPE scandal

Video explanation,

Michelle Moon: “I’m sorry I didn’t explicitly say, ‘Yes, I’m involved.’”

Baroness Michelle Moon has hit back at Rishi Sunak, saying she has been “honest” with the government over PPE contracts.

The peer has admitted lying to the media about her links to a company that supplied millions of pounds worth of personal protective equipment to the government during the Covid pandemic.

But she insisted that the government was aware of its involvement.

The Prime Minister said he takes this issue “incredibly seriously.”

In an interview on the BBC’s Sunday program with Laura Kuenssberg, Baroness Moon admitted she would benefit from profits made by PPE Medpro, which her husband leads.

Asked about her admission that she had not told the truth about her links to the company, Sunak said: “The government takes these matters very seriously, which is why we are taking legal action against the company involved in these matters.”

“But it is also the subject of an ongoing criminal investigation. That’s why there’s not much I can add,” he told reporters during a visit to Scotland.

Responding to Mr Sunak’s comments on X, Baroness Moon said: “What is @RishiSunak talking about?

“I have been honest with the Cabinet Office, the Government and the NHS in my dealings with them.

“They all knew about my involvement from the beginning.”

However, Lord Bethell – who was a health minister during the pandemic – disputed her account, saying she had not been ‘honest’ about her financial interest to me.

“She did not make clear from the beginning her financial role,” he wrote on X, adding that Mr Sunak was right to take the matter seriously.

Labor leader Sir Keir Starmer said Baroness Moon should not be a member of the House of Lords, describing the scandal as a “shocking disgrace from top to bottom”.

He said the government had “serious questions” to answer, including who initiated talks with Baroness Moon in the first place.

The Scottish underwear tycoon was made a Conservative peer by David Cameron, but is no longer a member of the parliamentary party.

She is currently on leave from Parliament, which she has previously said aims to “clear her name”, and is being investigated by the House of Lords for failing to declare an interest in Medpro PPE.

The company is also being investigated by the National Crime Agency (NCA).

Earlier, Energy Efficiency Minister Lord Callanan said he hoped Baroness Mooney would “see the logic” and “not return to the House of Lords”.

He told Sky News: “I think she should have declared her involvement in that on the House of Lords record, and there is guidance available for that.”

In an exclusive interview on Sunday with Laura Kuenssberg, the peer said it would benefit from £60m of PPE profits.

PPE Medpro has secured government contracts worth more than £200m to supply PPE to the NHS during the pandemic through a so-called “VIP pass”, introduced to help the government choose between vast numbers of supplier offers.

In November 2021, the government revealed that Baroness Moon was the “referral source” for PPE Medpro to gain a place on the VIP corridor.

Millions of gowns supplied by the company were never used, but the couple says they were provided according to contract.

PPE Medpro has been sued by the UK government for £122 million plus costs for “breach of contract and unjust enrichment”. The company is defending legal action.

In their interview with the BBC, Baroness Moon and her husband, Doug Barrowman, apologized for denying their role in the deal for more than three years.

Having previously denied making direct gains from the contracts, which generated profits of around £60 million, Baroness Moon admitted she and her children would become beneficiaries of the trusts in which the money is held.

She said: “If my husband dies before me, I will be a beneficiary, as will his children and my children.”

She admitted that they lied to the media about their involvement, saying it was to protect her family from press prying. But she said this was “not a crime”.

Baroness Moon said Cabinet Office officials told her she only had to declare her interest to them, not the House of Lords.

The pair said the government’s handling of PPE contracts was “shameful” and claimed they were being made into scapegoats because they were “prominent and successful”.

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