From lively nights out in London to hospitality getaways in Cheltenham – there was a time when Michelle Mone and Carol Vorderman seemed inseparable.
And their public comments were certainly affectionate, with Michelle calling the former Countdown host her “good friend” whose “fun” company helped her through her divorce.
But the pair fell out “some time ago”, insiders say, before Carol, 62, began to slam the Tory peer over allegations about government PPE contracts during Covid.
Carol’s public attack on Michelle today on This Morning has put a rocket under the feud, sparking a deluge of counterclaims from Michelle’s camp – which MailOnline can now reveal for the first time.
2010: Carol Vorderman (left) and Baroness Mone at the launch party for The Sun’s new magazine, The Buzz
The comments came after Carole reignited her feud with her former friend during a heated interview on This Morning which ended with her turning to the camera and saying, “Sweat me , Michelle”
Carol used her appearance to share details of the scandal currently engulfing Michelle, 51, which she barracked in a lengthy monologue before being interrupted by host Alison Hammond.
Speaking to viewers, she said: ‘I can’t talk about unnecessary PPE without also talking about Michelle Mone who was brought into the House of Lords, as Baroness, by David Cameron.
“We know she took time off without losing the Conservative whip to begin with because she was actively involved, in this case, with a company called PPE Medpro.”
Carol acknowledged that she had been friends with Michelle before, before adding: “Now Michelle Mone, I knew that many years ago and then I dropped her like a stone as soon as I realized what kind of person she was.”
She then turned to look directly at the camera and raised both hands, saying, “Sue me, Michelle.”
2010: Carol and Michelle at the Marion Rose Ball in aid of children with leukemia at the Grosvenor House Hotel in London
2011: The couple kiss after spending time together in central London
The intervention infuriated the peers’ camp, with a source close to her calling the broadcaster “hungry for publicity” and calling the comments “scandalous”.
“I really don’t understand why Carol launched this attack,” the source told MailOnline.
Ally also hit back at Carol’s claims on Twitter that Michelle’s husband Doug Barrowman paid for a super yacht and a private jet using money from PPE’s government contracts.
“Baroness Mone’s husband has owned super yachts and a jet for many years. What are the reasons – a thirst for publicity, or maybe she is coming to the end of her television career?’
What’s still unclear is who ended the friendship first, with the two giving disputed accounts.
Today Michelle’s friend told MailOnline she had been unerringly generous to Carol, paying for her food and drink for ‘two years’ and allowing her to stay ‘rent free’ in her flat in Mayfair.
In contrast, they described the broadcaster as ungrateful, saying she “never said thank you” and had “entertained” Red Arrows men on the property without her knowledge.
A source close to Michelle Mone today hit back at comments made by her former friend, Carol Vorderman (they are pictured together in Cheltenham in 2012)
Vorderman with ex-boyfriend Graham Duff, a former Red Arrows squadron leader
Baroness Mone welcomes Vorderman on Twitter (top); and below – one of Vorderman’s comments on the PPE scandal
Carol’s friends, meanwhile, insisted that she was the one who ended the friendship.
“There were no bitter busts or arguments between them,” a source told The Sun. “Carol just decided not to pursue the friendship over ten years ago.”
One thing that is clear is the extent to which Michelle’s alleged conduct during Covid contributed to escalating the argument.
Carol’s online attacks on Michelle have only intensified in recent weeks as she faces greater scrutiny over her business dealings.
These have been vicious at times, with the broadcaster even claiming in a post that his former friend should be “slammed in jail for her”.
Another tweet read: ‘Lady’ Mone broke Lords code and was apparently involved in fraud while nurses and doctors enslaved on the hour to save people during the 1st lockdown.
“I can’t talk about unnecessary PPE without also talking about Michelle Mone who was brought into the House of Lords, as Baroness, by David Cameron,” the former Countdown host said.
“She denied any involvement, but her husband got a profit of £65m and she got £29m. If so, throw them in jail instead.
And in a second she wrote: ‘After £221million PPE contracts, Michelle Mone has threatened Hancock that if a second company she was ‘helping’ secure a flow test contract for doesn’t was not allowed to ‘enter the game’, the attribution would seem ‘corrupt’ and she ‘blew the whole thing up ‘Where do we start??’
Michelle is now being investigated by the National Crime Agency as part of a fraud investigation into a Covid supplies business she recommended to ministers.
She is also being questioned by the House of Lords over fears she may not have declared an interest in PPE Medpro and pushing for him to win £203m NHS contracts, and has lost the Tory whip after taking a break from Parliament in an attempt to clear his name.
The government is also suing the company for allegedly breaching the terms of an agreement to supply 25 million surgical gowns to doctors.
MailOnline has contacted representatives for Michelle and Carol for comment.
From leaving school in Glasgow with no qualifications to modeling and business: how ‘Baroness Bra’ brought her millions
Lingerie mogul Michelle Mone was born in 1971 and grew up in Glasgow’s East End, leaving school unqualified at 15 before finding work as a model.
After leading a sales and marketing team for Labatt’s brewery, she decided to create a line of support bras after the idea came to her while wearing an uncomfortable bra during a having dinner.
Lady Mone founded MJM International with her then-husband Michael Mone in November 1996, and three years of research, design and development resulted in the patented Ultimo bra.
Lingerie tycoon Michelle Mone (pictured centre) is being investigated by House of Lords standards commissioners for allegedly failing to declare an interest in PPE Medpro and is pushing for him receives government contracts
The 51-year-old Tory pair (pictured) – nicknamed Baroness Bra – have always insisted they had no involvement with PPE Medpro or benefited financially from it
In August 1999, a month after having her third child, she launched Ultimo at Selfridges department store in London, which sold out the pre-launch estimate of six weeks’ worth of stock within 24 hours.
The business grew rapidly and in 2010 was awarded an OBE from the Queen for her contribution to business.
But she sold 80% of Ultimo in 2014, a year after announcing she had left the company following the breakdown of her marriage.
Lady Mone was nicknamed “Baroness Bra” after being elevated to the House of Lords in 2015, where her official title is Baroness Mone of Mayfair.
To celebrate her 50th birthday, she decided to throw five parties – one for each decade of her life – with her new husband, billionaire tech tycoon Doug Barrowman, 55.
Baroness Mone founded the Ultimo brand, which earned her the nickname Baroness Bra