Iain Wright, chair of the business, innovations and skills committee, has hit out at Sports Direct owner Mike Ashley over his refusal to appear at a select committee hearing next week.
Ashley was supposed to meet with MPs on June 7 to discuss allegations concerning the working practices at Sports Direct’s Shirebrook warehouse in Derbyshire.
However, Ashley sent a letter to the committee yesterday (June 2) saying he will not be attending the meeting because the legal representative he wants to accompany him is unavailable.
Wright said: “Ashley says he has nothing to hide but - following a parliamentary summons issued back in March for Ashley to attend on June 7 – and when he stated that he was available on that date, he has only now indicated he will not be able to attend next week. We are very disappointed by this eleventh-hour notification, having given him a notice period of three months to make the necessary arrangements.”
He added: “Business leaders regularly come before the committee and answer our questions. Sir Philip Green, for example, has agreed to attend as part of our joint inquiry into BHS. Does Ashley, owning and operating a business in a parliamentary democracy, see himself as being beyond such public scrutiny? What has he got to be frightened of?”
The committee will decide on the next steps when it meets next week.
The meeting on Tuesday will see the committee question representatives from the Unite union. It will also hear from the employment agencies who provide workers to Sports Direct at Shirebrook.