A firm set up by the former secretary of Baroness Mone has been awarded a £122 million contract to supply PPE to the NHS – just 44 days after it was set up.
PPE MedPRO was started by Anthony Page on the day he quit as the secretary of the EK business mogul’s company that deals with the Tory peer’s “brand”.
Just 44 days later it had won a Department of Health contract – not advertised to other bidders – to supply 25 million gowns for health workers.
East Kilbride MP Lisa Cameron criticised the process and award of the bid.
She told the News : “I believe the public’s expectation is that contracts, particularly where PPE is concerned, should be awarded to established, experienced providers, as they literally hold the lives of our healthcare staff in their hands.”
Mr Page is also a director of finance firm Knox Group, founded by Baroness Mone’s fiance Doug Barrowman.
The East Kilbride business tycoon made her name with her lingerie brand, Ultimo, which ceased trading in the UK after 22 years in the town last year – that came with the loss of 11 jobs at the firm’s Redwood Crescent-based headquarters.
The brand was established in the town by Tory peer Mone in 1996 and boasted models including Penny Lancaster and Kelly Brook.
The firm achieved international success when Julia Roberts reportedly wore an Ultimo bra in the hit film Erin Brockovich.
Sri-Lankan based MAS holdings acquired a majority shareholding in parent company Ultimo Brands International Ltd in 2014, with Lady Mone resigning as a director of this company the following year.
Jolyon Maugham of The Good Law Project – a not-for-profit membership organisation that uses the law to protect the interests of the public – said “another” hugely lucrative PPE contract had been awarded to a firm who have “no obvious qualification beyond links to very substantial donors to the Conservative Party”.
Baroness Mone has said she had no involvement in PPE MedPRO, adding that her fiance Mr Barrowman is also not involved in the firm. She offered no further comment on the matter.
Mr Page says PPE MedPRO underwent a rigorous vetting procedure.
Conservative representative for the area, Graham Simpson, was asked to comment on the matter but failed to do so.
SNP MSP, Linda Fabiani, claimed the awared of the contract was “yet another” example in a long list where the UK Government have awarded a PPE contract without going to competitive tender.
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She added: “The only thing many of the firms have in common is that they are backers of the Conservative party, who in Government are clearly exploiting EU rules that allow for rapid procurement in the event of an emergency.
“It is unacceptable for Boris Johnson and his ministers to ignore explaining how such decisions are reached – they should be open and transparent about how their tender process works since it is tax payers money which is being used after all.
“What do they have to hide?”
There is no suggestion of wrongdoing and the Department of Health said: “Due diligence is carried out for all government contracts.”