Sports Direct owner Mike Ashley has been warned by the government that he could be in contempt if he fails to give evidence at Westminster over the treatment of his workers before June 1.
Mike Ashley Sports Direct
Iain Wright, the chairman of the business, innovation and skills committee has sent a letter to Ashley warning that he must appear before the select committee to talk about the action taken in response to criticism over working conditions at Sports Direct’s warehouse in Shirebrook.
Wright also wants to discuss “the scope, progress and timetable” of the business’s review of its working practices that was announced in December.
A spokesman for Sports Direct said: “Mike Ashley has previously invited members of the committee to attend Shirebrook in order to see for themselves the company’s working practices. That invitation remains open. Mike will respond to the committee’s recent letter in due course.”
In response to Ashley’s invitation Wright said that “in line with select committees’ commitment to transparency”, the meeting must take place in public at Westminster.
Wright said several alternative dates had been offered to Ashley but he has yet to commit to a date.
“As you will be aware, select committees do not normally need to have recourse to our formal powers to summon witnesses in order to secure attendance; refusal to attend without good reason may be considered a contempt of the House.”
Wright continued: “Should you fail in your reply to agree to attend on one of the dates offered to you, or a mutually convenient alternative before 1 June, the committee reserves the right to take the matter further, including seeking the support of the House of Commons in respect of any complaint of contempt.”
Ashley has until March 21 to reply.