MICHAEL Gove has been told he must urgently appear before MPs to answer questions on his involvement in the ongoing scandal around Michelle Mone.

The formerly Conservative peer admitted in an interview with the BBC on Sunday that she had lied to the media for years and in fact stood to gain from Covid contracts given by the UK Government to the firm PPE Medpro.

Mone told the BBC that there had been a “call to arms” put out by government amid the mass search for PPE early in the pandemic, after which she had “made the call to Michael Gove”. At the time, he was the chancellor of the duchy of Lancaster.

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After Mone’s recommendation, PPE Medpro was awarded government contracts to supply personal protective equipment worth more than £200 million – with £60m of that becoming profit.

Nick Thomas-Symonds, a shadow Cabinet office minister, said: “This affair just gets murkier and murkier for the Conservative Government with an admission that lies were told to the public, a National Crime Agency Investigation ongoing, and tens of millions of taxpayers’ money at stake.

“The very least Conservative ministers owe is maximum possible transparency and there should be an urgent statement to Parliament before the Christmas recess.”

In a letter to the now Levelling up Secretary Gove, the Labour MP asks him to appear before parliament to answer MPs’ questions, including on the process which Mone’s recommendation went through before contracts were awarded.

He adds: “It is vital that mistakes are addressed, wasted money recouped, and vital lessons learned about the conduct of Government.”

Read the full letter to Michael Gove from Thomas-Symonds:

Dear Michael, I write following the interview on Sunday 17 December by the BBC’s Laura Kuenssberg with Baroness Mone and her husband Mr Doug Barrowman. This letter is written to you as you were Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster at the relevant time.

In November 2021, when questioned about the absence of PPE Medpro from her House of Lords Register of Interests, Baroness Mone’s lawyer replied: “For the avoidance of any doubt, Baroness Mone did not declare any interest as she did not benefit financially and was not connected to PPE Medpro in any capacity.” Yet, in the interview today, Baroness Mone said: “…I regret, and I’m sorry, for not saying straight out, yes I am involved because DHSC, the NHS, the Cabinet Office – they all knew of my involvement but I didn’t want the press intrusion…”

Baroness Mone’s recommendation of PPE Medpro to the Government was already known, though it had previously been described by her lawyer as a “very simple, solitary and brief step.” Mr Barrowman has set out that the firm PPE Medpro agreed two contracts, worth over £200m, resulting in an overall profit of around £60m. He has also admitted that Baroness Mone is the beneficiary of a trust into which profits have been paid; in his words she "was always going to benefit, and my family will benefit in due course… her family benefit, my family benefit". This series of events has led to civil litigation and a National Crime Agency investigation. Yet these ongoing matters should not preclude you from addressing questions about your own involvement and the role of the Government. Nor should it prevent you being held to account by Parliament for the actions the Government is now taking in relation to this matter.

There are a number of key questions that I would be grateful if you could address directly: - Baroness Mone has suggested that there was “a call to arms for all Lords, Baronesses, MPs, senior civil servants to help because they needed massive quantities of PPE…” As Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster at the time did you see this communication, and if so, can you outline what exactly it said?

- Baroness Mone also said that she knows “all the key players in the Far East” and, after this call to arms, “made the call to Michael Gove”; when she offered help, she indicated that you said this was “amazing”. Can you please confirm if this is accurate and what record of the call has been kept, particularly given the vast sums of public money involved?

- Can you also confirm how many further communications you had with Baroness Mone, either in person, on the telephone, on text/WhatsApp or in writing, and what record has been kept of them?

- Baroness Mone also indicated that she discussed her House of Lords Register of Interests declaration with the Cabinet Office and that she was told: “we just need you to put…in writing and to declare your interest with us.” Can you please confirm who gave such advice, and when?

- Who in the Cabinet Office, DHSC and NHS knew of Baroness Mone’s involvement with PPE MedPro?

It will of course be for the legal matters to take their course, but events so far expose a shocking recklessness by the Conservative Government with regard to public money, and a sorry tale of incompetence in relation to the so-called “VIP Lane” for procurement during the pandemic.

It is vital that mistakes are addressed, wasted money recouped, and vital lessons learned about the conduct of Government. As a result, I call on you to take the following urgent steps: - Come before parliament yourself to update MPs on this issue and subject yourself to questioning and scrutiny; - Indicate what plans the Government is making to return any money to the public purse that can now be recouped; - Introduce a Covid Corruption Commissioner as the Labour Party is asking for to pursue those who profited from the carnival of waste and ineptitude during the pandemic. You will be aware that the cost to the taxpayer of Covid fraud is estimated at £7.2 billion.

The fact that this occurred at a time when so many people were making extraordinary sacrifices during the Covid pandemic makes the revelations particularly damaging. The current Prime Minister was Chancellor of the Exchequer at the time these schemes were created and many of the Ministers at the heart of government at the time are still in senior positions today. Yet again, it shows that this Conservative government cannot deliver the change our country so desperately needs.

I – urgently - call on you to help ensure the maximum possible transparency in relation to this matter.

Yours sincerely, Rt Hon Nick Thomas-Symonds MP

Shadow Minister Without Portfolio (Cabinet Office)