Met investigating Tory peer Michelle Mone over ‘racist message’

Ultimo lingerie founder is alleged to have called man of Indian heritage ‘a waste of a man’s white skin’ in WhatsApp exchange

The Conservative peer Michelle Mone is being investigated by the Metropolitan police for an allegedly racist message she is accused of sending to a man of Indian heritage.

The recipient of the message, Richard Lynton-Jones, complained to the police last summer that during a disagreement following a fatal yacht collision in 2019, Lady Mone told him in a WhatsApp message he was “a waste of a man’s white skin”.

Lynton-Jones gave a statement to the police in October, providing screenshots of the messages. He is understood to have told the police in his statement that he believed Mone racially attacked him by using those words in the message, that he found it grossly offensive and felt harassed, alarmed and distressed by it.

The alleged contents of WhatsApp messages, in which Mone also allegedly described Lynton-Jones’s partner as a “mental loony” and “nut case bird”, were revealed by the Guardian last month.

Mone has repeatedly denied she is racist and her lawyers have questioned the authenticity of the messages.

In screenshots of the messages seen by the Guardian, Mone appears to accuse Lynton-Jones and his partner of showing insufficient respect following the yacht crash off Monaco, in which a crew member was killed – an accusation they reject.

The WhatsApp screenshots show the Tory peer responding after Lynton-Jones told her to back off, writing: “Your [sic] a low life, a waste of a mans [sic] white skin so don’t give us your lies. Your [sic] a total disgrace.”

The Metropolitan police confirmed they were investigating. “In June 2021 police received an allegation of a racially aggravated malicious communication in relation to information posted on a messaging app,” they said in a statement.

“Police spoke to the complainant and advised that for the investigation to progress a statement would need to be taken; for this to be admissible in any future court proceedings, this would need to be done in person.

”In October, the complainant gave a statement to police and the investigation continues. A 50-year-old woman has been invited to attend for an interview under caution at a future date.”

Mone is understood to have been scheduled to be interviewed under caution on 23 December, but that appointment was reportedly delayed. The police declined to say when the interview was now scheduled to happen.

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When the Guardian first reported on the allegedly racist message, a representative of Mone initially said: “Baroness Mone is 100% not a racist. Baroness Mone and her husband have built over 15 schools in Africa in the past three years.”

Her lawyers later provided another statement in which they said Mone had “no access” to the messages and no “detailed memory of them”.

“She is not prepared to comment on the messages unless and until their authenticity has been confirmed but Baroness Mone, in any event, very strongly denies that she is a racist, a sexist or that she has a lack of respect for those persons genuinely suffering with mental health difficulties.”

Richard Lynton-Jones/
Richard Lynton-Jones. Photograph: Handout

In separate correspondence, her lawyers also said their client believed at the time that the man had “no trace whatsoever of non-white colouring or any features” that would suggest he was not “100% white and British”.

In a subsequent post on Instagram, Mone denied the WhatsApp message was racist, saying: “Since when did calling out a man on his actions after a manslaughter and his entitled white privilege constitute racism?”

A lawyer for Mone indicated to the Guardian that Mone’s Instagram post did not suggest she now accepted that she sent the message.

It has since been reported that Lynton-Jones has started libel proceedings against Mone, accusing her of defamation. Mone is reported to have said to friends she will vigorously defend any action.

It is understood that there has been no finding of manslaughter following the yacht crash, and that part of the investigation has been closed.


David Conn

The GuardianTramp

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