The war of words continues as Frank Field, chair of the work and pensions select committee, defends the conclusions of the blistering report he co-authored this summer into the collapse of BHS.
Field hit back, after lawyers representing the directors of Taveta Investments, including Sir Philip Green, hit out at the “bizarre” findings of the report this morning.
“The conclusions and recommendations of the report - which was agreed unanimously, without division by 10 members drawn from two different select committees - were based on the huge amounts of evidence the committees received throughout the inquiry,” he said.
“My own views were shaped by that evidence as well as the circumstances of those former BHS workers whose jobs have been lost and pensions put at risk. MPs are entitled to have views and to take those views with them into Parliament. That one of the country’s top legal minds has been drawn in to defend Sir Philip’s actions shows how Herculean that task is.”
Leading barristers Lord Pannick and Michael Todd reviewed the inquiry held jointly by the work and pensions select committee and the business select committee earlier this year, calling its key findings “bizarre” and “unsupportable” earlier today.
They claim it contains factual errors. For example, they argue that the main causes of the BHS pension deficit were the increasing longevity of the scheme’s members and the global financial crisis in 2008 - not the behaviour of Green, as the MPs suggested.
It comes as MPs gear up to debate the report, and whether Green should be stripped of his knighthood, on Thursday.
“The House will draw its own conclusions later this week,” concluded Field.