Green in ‘fair hearing’ plea ahead of BHS grilling by MPs

Sir Philip Green
Sir Philip Green

Sir Philip Green has confirmed that he will attend a showdown with MPs investigating the collapse of BHS despite threats to duck the Commons inquiry unless MP Frank Field, who heads it up, resigned from the investigation.

In a statement issued on Tuesday, Sir Philip said: “I am disappointed not to have had a reply to either of my letters sent to Mr Field. I did not think or believe that those conducting a Parliamentary process would or should express concluded views in such a public way before I have had the chance to appear before the committee.

“Having given long and hard thought to the matter however, I have decided I will attend tomorrow morning, hoping and trusting that the committee will give me a fair hearing.

“This will be the first and only opportunity I have had to tell my side of the very sad BHS story and I will do my best to answer all the questions put to me in an honest and open way.”

The tycoon was angered by comments made by Mr Field that the Business and Pensions committee would “laugh” at him if he offered anything less than £600 million to plug BHS’s pension deficit.

Sir Philip has come in for criticism for taking £400m in dividends out of the firm during his 15-year ownership, mismanaging the pension scheme and for selling it to former bankrupt Dominic Chappell for £1 in 2015.

MPs on the Business and Pensions committees are now probing a whole host of individuals as they attempt to unravel BHS’s collapse, which left in its wake 11,000 potential job losses and a £571m pensions black hole.

Last week, Mr Chappell also claimed Sir Philip effectively continued to run BHS after the sale and even blocked a rescue attempt from Sports Direct boss Mike Ashley.

He also accused the billionaire of tipping BHS into administration by calling in a £35m loan owed to his Arcadia retail empire. Sir Philip denies the allegations.

Calls are also growing for Sir Philip to be stripped of his knighthood, with a group of Conservative MPs preparing to write to the honours committee should he refuse to pump hundreds of millions into BHS’s pension fund.