(Bloomberg) -- Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said he’s “shocked” by allegations that a Conservative peer received money from a firm that profited from UK government contracts awarded during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Michelle Mone, a member of the House of Lords, took a leave of absence this week after the Guardian reported she and her family benefited to the tune of £29 million ($35 million) from the profits of a company she referred to the government for contracts during the Covid-19 pandemic. She has denied to the paper having any role in the company, PPE Medpro, and the day after the Guardian ran its story, she tweeted a meme saying: “don’t believe everything you read.” Mone’s office didn’t immediately comment when contacted by Bloomberg.

“It’s absolutely right that she’s no longer attending the House of Lords and therefore no longer has the Conservative whip,” Sunak told the House of Commons on Wednesday. 

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The allegations against Mone are problematic for Sunak because they add to a perception that businesses and individuals were able to profit from taxpayer-funded contracts during the pandemic because of their connections to the ruling Conservatives, at a time when he was Chancellor of the Exchequer. 

A London judge has already ruled that the government unlawfully used a so-called “VIP lane” that was established to facilitate contracts with companies known to government officials and UK legislators. Meanwhile, the National Audit Office said earlier this year that billions of pounds worth of protective masks and gowns bought by the government during the pandemic weren’t suitable for use.

The issue was raised in the Commons by opposition Labour Party leader Keir Starmer, who asked Sunak how Mone ended up “with nearly 30 million pounds of taxpayers’ money in her bank account.”

“I was absolutely shocked to read about the allegations,” Sunak said. “There’s a process in place. It’s right that that process concludes. I hope that it’s resolved promptly.”

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