Mike Ashley's testimony before MPs in doubt as he seeks legal advice over 'unfair' treatmentComments Off on Mike Ashley's testimony before MPs in doubt as he seeks legal advice over 'unfair' treatment
Mike Ashley’s appearance at a Commons committee hearing in June has been thrown in doubt after the Sports Direct founder accused MPs of being “unfair” over their refusal to meet the conditions he set in exchange for his presence in Westminster.
It was revealed yesterday that MPs on the Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) Committee spurned the billionaire’s offer to travel in his helicopter to visit the sporting goods retailer’s headquarters in Shirebrook, Derbyshire, ahead of him giving testimony on June 7.
“You will appreciate that Parliamentary committees, including this one, do not accept that witnesses attach conditions to attending in response to a summons,” Committee chair Iain Wright wrote in a letter.
Sports Direct said it was “disappointed that members of the Committee have chosen not to visit Shirebrook in order to see working conditions with their own eyes”.
Ashley, who also owns Newcastle United Football Club, would now seek legal advice “with regard to his position in relation to June 7th”.
“The Committee are clearly being unfair,” it added.
Ashley has been in a long-running, public spat with the Committee, which earlier this year summoned Ashley to discuss treatment of workers.
After he failed to agree a date, the BIS Committee warned Ashley he risked being in contempt of parliament.
Sport Direct’s Shirebrook facility was likened to a “gulag” in a recent media investigation. Ashley personally oversaw a review of conditions and announced all staff and agency workers would be paid above the minimum wage at a cost of around £10 million.
In his latest letter Wright informed Ashley that the Committee will be hearing evidence from some who may be critical of working practices at Shirebrook.
“So it is important to us – and presumably to you – that we have a balanced view and you have an opportunity to respond to any comments made, as well as to update us on the progress of your own review.”