Tory MPs preparing to call for return of knighthood

Under pressure: Sir Philip Green
Under pressure: Sir Philip Green

A group of Conservative MPs is preparing to call on the honours committee to strip Sir Philip Green of his knighthood, should the billionaire refuse to pump hundreds of millions into BHS’s pension fund.

The backbench group is poised to write to the Honours Forfeiture Committee as Sir Philip readies for an appearance in front of MPs next week when he will be grilled over the collapse of the retailer, which left in its wake a £571 million pension deficit.

A senior Westminster source told the Press Association: “If Sir Philip turns up next week and showers us with his wealth, throws £600m on the table and all the pensions are saved, then that’s fine.

“If not, there is such outrage that there will be open calls for his knighthood to be revoked, with a group of Tory backbenchers leading the charge.”

The MPs have outlined their proposals to the Business and Pensions Committees, which are jointly investigating events surrounding BHS’s collapse.

The schemes of approximately 20,000 current and former BHS workers have fallen into the Pension Protection Fund after the retailer collapsed in April.

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

On Wednesday, Mr Chappell also claimed that Sir Philip blocked a rescue attempt for BHS from Sports Direct boss Mike Ashley. Sir Philip denies the claim.