PRESSURE is growing on the UK Government to explain its appointment of Michelle Mone as its start-up czar after another leading Scottish businessman cast doubt over her suitability for the post.

The announcement that the lingerie entrepreneur would lead a review into encouraging start-ups in areas of high unemployment has caused controversy, amid claims that her high-profile owed more to skilful PR manipulation than meaningful success in the private sector.

John Pirrie, who set up an engine hire firm with his brother in 1980 and sold the Glasgow-based business for £60 million in 2006 after they transformed it into the biggest independent generator hire company in the UK, said he had been "flabbergasted" to learn of Ms Mone's new role.

He said he was in "complete agreement" with comments made by Douglas Anderson, joint managing director of major tool and plant hire company the Gap Group, who wrote to David Cameron labelling Ms Mone a "a small-time businesswoman" and saying a mooted appointment to the House of Lords would be "highly divisive", given her outspoken opposition to Scottish independence.

Mr Pirrie, now a partner in private equity firm Nevis Capital, based in Milngavie, said he believed there was a high number of candidates better qualified to help address low levels of start up firms in deprived parts of the UK.

"I’d already been hearing noise about her becoming a peer, which I thought was absolutely ridiculous,” he said. "As far as this particular appointment is concerned, I would have thought they’d have checked her background rather than find someone who’s on TV, looks good and say ‘let’s make her business czar’.

"She’s certainly good at self-publicity, but there’s no track record of business success there whatsoever. I’m sure there are a lot of better people out there who could have experience in successful start-ups. Plenty of people not as well known but with a better track record should have been considered rather than someone with great PR, but no real success in business.

“I don’t know her, but I’ve heard her speak a couple of times and been completely underwhelmed. It’s chat with no depth to it. Who suggested this and why? What diligence did they do? How many business start-ups has she been behind and how many were successful?”

Despite achieving fame through the tabloids as the joint-founder of Ultimo bras and selling a rags to riches story having been raised in Glasgow's East End, Ms Mone's firm MJM International suffered losses of £780,000 in its last year, 2013, before passing its assets to its parent company, Ultimo Brands, which also made a loss, and ceasing to trade. Ms Mone has sold most of Ultimo Brands to a firm from Sri Lanka but remains a director.

An auditor's report on MJM International accounts, for a period to the end of 2013, state that the company made "significant losses" over the previous 11 months and made a comment on a £135,000 transaction.

The report states: "With respect to one related party balance included within amounts owed to related undertakings of £135,000, the audit evidence available to us was limited because no confirmation of the related party balance was provided."

A representative for Ms Mone, who is a Conservative Party supporter, said "no comment" after being offered the chance to respond to Mr Pirrie's comments.

The Department for Work and Pensions repeated its claim that Ms Mone's business success was "well documented" and said she was "more than qualified" to help young entrepreneurs from deprived backgrounds develop businesses.

A DWP spokeswoman refused to comment on internal processes that led to Ms Mone's appointment to the unpaid role, and said she had "nothing more to add" when asked whether the department was willing to provide examples of where Ms Mone's business success had been documented.