Tory peer Michelle Mone has responded to revelations that she used the VIP lane system to personally profit from the PPE procurement rush, by claiming she was just safekeeping £29 million but would now return it and the government can spend it on nurses or sending kids to Lourdes.
Speaking from the deck of Lady M, her 130 ft yacht, Baroness Mone explained there was nothing suspicious about setting up a chain of shell companies in tax havens to procure medical equipment for a government she was part of.
She went on, “The Guardian has maliciously implied that just because I carefully hid my ownership of procurement companies with nebulous shareholding companies in places with strict secrecy laws, that this somehow means I have something to hide.
“When the pandemic hit, I used my expertise in making bras to source the finest PPE so that NHS staff could be safe while they battled the disease. When Matt Hancock asked if I knew suppliers, I must have got confused and just blurted out the name of a company we set up within days of being told about the VIP lane system.
“Imagine my surprise when millions of pounds started to arrive in our bank account. Coincidentally, this all happened when Douglas and I decided to cheer up our brave nurses with lovely photos of our extravagant wedding and our new yacht. And they really needed cheering up as it turned out all that PPE that cost the taxpayer £200 million was unfit for purpose.
“But don’t worry, I’m going to return every penny. It’s just that I left my card reader in a country that has no extradition agreement with the UK. I’ll be right back.”