BBC refuses to say why it hasn’t covered raid on Michelle Mone’s house

THE BBC has refused to comment after being accused of a news ‘blackout’ on a Conservative peer’s house being raided by police.

The broadcaster was criticised online for its lack of coverage of allegations surrounding Michelle Mone and the UK Government’s “VIP lane” for PPE contracts.

Approached by The National, the broadcaster declined to comment.

Twitter user Ken Naylor posted: “The London home of Conservative peer Michelle Mone has been raided by police from National Crime Agency as part of a probe into allegations of multi-million pound PPE fraud. It’s everywhere except the BBC News.”

Another tweet, which received more than 24,000 likes on the social media site, criticised the broadcaster for a “news blackout” on the story.

Freddie Johnson wrote: “I see @BBCNews are having a news blackout on Tory peer Michelle Mone having her house raided by police. Please retweet if you consider this to be newsworthy.”

Another person posted: “Reports about police raids on Michelle Mone’s properties now appearing in the Guardian, Mirror, Daily Mail, the FT, the Herald, the Telegraph, the National, Daily Record, the Metro.

“BBC news – radio silence.”

The story of the Conservative peer’s £11 million London home being raided by the National Crime Agency (NCA) received widespread reporting – but didn’t appear on the BBC News website.

The NCA is investigating contracts won by PPE Medpro, a firm set up by a business associate of the Tory peer.

READ MORE: Michelle Mone-linked PPE firm ‘made £76m on PPE NHS sale’

A special unit in the NCA has been looking into allegations of fraud for a year, reports have said.

Mone referred PPE Medpro to the UK Government for coronavirus contracts through the “VIP lane” – a scheme which has since been ruled illegal.

The firm went on to win more than £200m in Covid PPE contracts from the Department of Health in 2020.

The baroness’s London home – one of a string of properties raided by officers this week – is owned by an offshore company linked to her husband, Doug Barrowman.

Warrants were executed at four addresses on the Isle of Man on Wednesday, including the headquarters of the Knox Group, which Barrowman founded and chairs.

No arrests were made but documents and electronic devices were seized.

Isle of Man police confirmed: “The Isle of Man Constabulary, in support of an ongoing NCA investigation, executed search warrants at four addresses in the Isle of Man. No arrests were made.”

PPE Medpro bought 25 million gowns from a Chinese firm for £46m and sold it on for £122m, according to documents seen by The Guardian.

The gowns were rejected after an inspection by the health service and ultimately never used.

Mone previously claimed she had “no role or involvement” with PPE Medpro but conceded she had been involved in the “very simple, solitary and brief step” of recommending it through the VIP lane.

The peer insisted she “did not do anything further in respect of PPE Medpro”.

READ MORE: Leaked emails show Michael Gove was involved in lucrative PPE deal

She has been asked to explain why leaked Whatsapp messages allegedly show her discussing the business’s affairs.

Mone allegedly wrote: “We are just about to take off in the jet. The sizes are in the order. We are waiting for the official PO [purchase order], this should come in today.”

Mone’s lawyers said she could not be expected to comment on “unknown and unattributable WhatsApp messages allegedly sent 19 months ago”.

An NCA spokesperson said: “The NCA does not routinely confirm or deny the existence of investigations or the names of those who may or may not be under investigation.”

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