The Tory peer Michelle Mone has admitted she was involved with a company at the centre of a row over Covid contracts after previous denials, according to reports.

The Guardian said the Glasgow-born lingerie entrepreneur had acknowledged links to PPE Medpro which was awarded £202m of UK Government contracts during the pandemic.

Baroness Mone of Mayfair’s husband, the Isle of Man-based businessman Douglas Barrowman, had also acknowledged an involvement with the firm, the paper reported.

New statements made on the couple’s behalf are at odds with previous denials about the pair being involved with PPE Medpro.

In a report published in July on PPE Medpro’s contracts, the Commons Public Accounts Committee set out how the firm was created in May 2020, a few months into the pandemic.

It was awarded its first contract, worth £81m, a month later to supply 210m face masks.

The Department of Health and Social Care awarded it a second contract, for £122m of sterile surgical gowns, two weeks after that.

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The contracts followed Baroness Mone, 52 referring PPE Medpro through the Department’s High Priority Lane, or 'VIP' Lane, as a potential supplier.

In January 2022, the House of Lords Standards Commissioners announced an inquiry into whether Baroness Mone had breached  code of conduct rules over the contracts.

Baroness Mone took a leave of absence from the Lords on December 6 last year.

On December 19, the Government began legal proceedings against PPE Medpro over the second £122m contract, claiming the gowns were not fit for use, a claim the firm denies.

The Guardian said that in November 2020, Baroness Mone’s lawyer had said she was “not connected in any way with PPE Medpro”.

Lawyers for Mr Barrowman, 58, also denied he was an investor in the company or a consortium supporting it and said he had “never had any role or function in PPE Medpro”.

However, the paper reported that an authorised representative of the couple and PPE Medpro, had now made a new statement in response to questions from the paper.

It quoted him saying: “The UK government was fully aware of Baroness Mone’s involvement; like many other peers and MPs on the high priority lane, she acted as an intermediary/liaison between PPE Medpro and the Cabinet Office/Department of Health and Social Care.”

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The representative added that Mr Barrowman, who runs the Knox Group, “was the chairman and leader of the PPE Medpro consortium that supplied the UK government”.

The representative said the “consortium” was a partnership between PPE Medpro and two other companies that were involved in sourcing the PPE: Loudwater Trade and Finance, based in London, and Eric Beare Associates, a Hong Kong company.

He said Mr Barrowman provided half the money required upfront through his “family office”, a part of the Knox empire understood to manage his private wealth.

“Both Doug Barrowman and his wife, Baroness Mone, made a full written disclosure of their involvement to the Cabinet Office prior to the award of the PPE contracts,” he said. 

“The UK government was fully aware of Mr Barrowman’s role and that his group would make a commercial profit.”

The Guardian reported last year that leaked HSBC bank documents indicated Mr Barrowman was paid at least £65m from PPE Medpro’s profits, then transferred £29m into a trust for Baroness Mone and her three adult children.