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Mike Ashley refuses to face MPs in June

Sports Direct’s founder Mike Ashley has refused to meet with MPs in parliament over the retailer’s working conditions, calling them “a joke”.

Mike Ashley Sports Direct

Mike Ashley Sports Direct

Mike Ashley Sports Direct

The business, innovation and skills (BIS) committee issued a formal summons to Ashley to give evidence in parliament on June 7. However, the retail boss told Sky News he will challenge the order, calling it an “abuse of the parliamentary process”.

Ashley could be in contempt of parliament if he fails to attend. 

The retailer said he had “nothing to hide” and he was “not willing to stand idle while this company is subjected to public vilification”.

He told the news outlet: “Come here and see it for yourself. You will have to apologise once you’ve been here.

“The current intention is not to go [to parliament], because they ought to come here and see it for themselves. They would make a lot more informed decision if they were able to see it for themselves and then I don’t think they would actually need to want to see me and carry on the media circus.

“They clearly don’t care about the people at Sports Direct. In my opinion they are just showboating. In my opinion they are actually a joke.”

BIS committee chair Iain Wright said: “I’m very disappointed that Ashley has refused to accept the committee’s reasonable request to come and give evidence in parliament, like every other witness for every other select committee voluntarily does.

“It is telling that he chose to give his response to the media rather than to the committee directly. We will be discussing this matter at the next committee meeting on Tuesday.”

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