MICHELLE Mone has come under fire after it emerged that she has yet to speak in the House of Lords despite taking up her Tory peerage four months ago.
The lingerie tycoon, now Baroness Mone of Mayfair, joined the Lords on 30 September, as David Cameron’s entrepreneurship tsar, and was sworn in several days later.
Since then, the founder of underwear firm Ultimo has not spoken in the Lords or lodged any parliamentary questions related to her brief or any other issues. She is the only one of the six Scottish peers ennobled last year yet to make their maiden speech.
Former chancellor Alistair Darling has spoken in the Lords on issues related to payment protection insurance payments since he was arrived in the chamber on 1 December last year.
Former Liberal Democrat leader Menzies Campbell, who was MP for North East Fife, has made several interventions in the Lords on defence issues since he joined on 13 October.
Ex-Liberal Democrat deputy leader Malcolm Bruce has delivered speeches on defence, additional powers for Holyrood, tropical diseases and international aid since he joined the Lords on 19 October, months after he stepped down as MP for Gordon.
The other two Scottish appointees to the Lords last year were Tories Andrew Dunlop and Richard Keen QC, who have regularly spoken in the chamber in their respective roles as a Scotland Office minister and Advocate General for Scotland since being sworn in soon after the 2015 election.
Mone’s failure to speak during her three months in the Lords is listed as “well below average amongst Lords”, according to the They Work for You website that highlights the activity of parliamentarians.
However, parliamentary records show she has taken part in House of Lords votes, including the controversial division on cuts to tax credits last October when other well-known Tory peers such as impresario Andrew Lloyd Webber, West Ham FC vice chair Karren Brady all turned up to support the government.
Scottish Labour business spokesman Lewis Macdonald said: “Michelle Mone being shy and retiring in the House of Lords must come as a big surprise and it’s disappointing that she appears to see her role as being to just turn up and vote for the UK government’s policies.
“There will be many small business people out there disappointed to learn that someone who they thought was a strong minded entrepreneur has not been using the seat they were given in the House of Lords to speak up for them.”
Mone’s online Lords record stated: “This member has not yet asked or answered a written question in this parliamentary session (2015-16).”
Last night a spokesman for Mone said the reason she had not spoken in the Lords was that she had “lost her voice”. He said she would make her first contribution “as soon as she gets her voice back”.
Critics of Mone’s appointment as a government business adviser and as a peer have said she lacks the credentials for the roles.
Last November, shortly after taking up her new role, Mone said: “People in the House have thanked me for taking it on and said I’m a breath of fresh air.”