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Lingerie queen Michelle Mone defends her use of a chauffeur driven government Jaguar

Published 24/09/2015

Michelle Mone takes part in the BGC Annual Global Charity Day at Canary Wharf in London. (Ian West/PA Wire)
Michelle Mone takes part in the BGC Annual Global Charity Day at Canary Wharf in London. (Ian West/PA Wire)

Lingerie tycoon Michelle Mone has defended her use of a chaffeur driven Government ministerial car to take her to the railway station.

The 43-year-old, who founded lingerie brand Ultimo, is carrying out a Department for Work and Pensions review of small business support for people from less advantaged areas, but is not a Government minister.

Officials said she was given the vehicle because it was not in use and claimed it was cheaper than flagging down a black cab and or even catching the Underground before claiming the money back through expenses.

The DWP did not reveal the cost of Mone's use of the car to taxpayers, but her spokesman stressed that she was not being paid for her work with the Government.

The spokesman told the Press Association: "Michelle is spending many days working free of charge for the Government producing the report which the DWP has asked her to.

"Her use of the government car, which was offered to her, comprised a 15 minute journey from her London home to Euston station."

Mone, who was recently given a peerage by David Cameron, was travelling to Stockport to continue work on her review and in a tweet, which has now been deleted, but published by various news outlets she appears to boast about using the car on Wednesday.

Alongside a photo of a Jaguar steering wheel and dashboard, she said: "The things you do..in Government car drying my travel top...love it so much. See you soon #Stockport #betheboss".

A DWP spokesman said: "The Department introduced a ministerial pool car arrangement in 2012 to reduce the overall running costs of ministerial travel.

"The car was not required by a minister this morning and offered to Michelle Mone for use in connection with legitimate government business."

Mone, who is reportedly worth £20 million, co-founded Ultimo's "cleavage-enhancing" bras in 1996 with her then husband Michael.

The bras have often been promoted by celebrities, most famously by actress Julia Roberts who wore the firm's miracle solutions plunge bra in her Oscar-winning performance in Erin Brockovich.

Following a protracted divorce, her husband left the company in 2013, and a year later Mone sold 80% of the business to Sri Lanka-based lingerie group MAS Holdings.

Mone has a high media profile and has appeared on TV shows as diverse as The Apprentice, Celebrity Masterchef and Surprise Surprise.

She also owns stakes in a tanning firm, a slimming business and works as a motivational speaker.

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