Sir Philip Green hits back at Frank Field in BHS dispute
Sir Philip Green has renewed hostilities with MP Frank Field ahead of a parliamentary debate on whether he should be stripped of his knighthood.
In a letter sent by Sir Philip’s holding company Taveta, the billionaire accuses the Labour veteran of “highly defamatory and false statements” for dragging the tycoon’s Arcadia group into the BHS saga.
The letter references comments made by the MP to Channel 4, in which he compared the way BHS was run to the state of Sir Philip’s Arcadia empire, which houses Topshop and Dorothy Perkins.
It accuses Mr Field of causing “distress” to Arcadia’s 22,000 employees by suggesting Sir Philip is “running Arcadia into the ground like BHS”.
Sir Philip’s letter said there is “absolutely no substance” to the allegations.
Mr Field, chairman of the Work and Pensions Committee, has led the charge against Sir Philip over BHS’s collapse, dragging him before MPs to explain his actions.
Later on Thursday, Sir Philip will face calls to be stripped of his knighthood as MPs probe the collapse of BHS.
Nearly 50 MPs have backed the proposal for the billionaire businessman to lose his title, awarded in 2006 for services to retail, which could be subject to a parliamentary vote.
Tory Richard Fuller and independent Michelle Thomson have tabled an amendment asking for the Honours Forfeiture Committee to recommend Sir Philip’s knighthood is “cancelled and annulled”.
During a Commons debate, MPs will also say the billionaire businessman should “fulfil his promise” to resolve the retail chain’s multimillion-pound pension fund black hole.
BHS went into administration shortly after being sold for £1 by Sir Philip, with a £571m pension scheme deficit.
A motion for debate says: “That this House notes the recent joint report by the Business, Innovation and Skills and the Work and Pensions committees on BHS.
“(This House) endorses that report’s criticisms of the governance of the company and of the holding company, Taveta Investments Ltd.
“(This House) believes that the sale of the company to Retail Acquisitions Ltd for £1 was clearly not in the interests of British Home Stores’ employees and pensioners.
“(This House) notes the failure of Sir Philip Green over many years to resolve the deficit in the BHS pension fund, and calls on him to fulfil his promise to do so forthwith.”