Calls for TopShop boss to lose knighthood

By Laura Hughes

Beyonce Knowles and Sir Philip Green at the Topshop/Topman NY Flagship Opening Dinner. Photo / Getty
Beyonce Knowles and Sir Philip Green at the Topshop/Topman NY Flagship Opening Dinner. Photo / Getty

British MPs have approved a motion calling on the honours forfeiture committee to strip Sir Philip Green of his knighthood during a debate in the House of Commons in the UK.

The proposal tabled in the Commons asked for the Honours Forfeiture Committee to recommend the billionaire businessman's knighthood is "cancelled and annulled".

Ian Wright, the chair of the business committee said Sir Philip "took the rings from BHS's fingers. He beat it black and blue. He starved it of food and water and put it on life support. "And then he wanted credit for keeping it alive."

He described the BHS pensions saga as "one of the biggest corporate scandals of modern time".

A former head of the honours system told the Telegraph last night that civil servants will find it hard to ignore calls to strip Sir Philip of his knighthood if scores of MPs vote to remove his title.

This is the amendment passed this afternoon:

"[This House] noting that Philip Green received his knighthood for his services for the retail industry, believes his actions raise the question of whether he should be allowed to continue to be a holder of the honour and calls on the honours forfeiture committee to recommend his knighthood be cancelled and annulled."

Sir Philip should pay back pension deficit 'in full'

Clive Lewis, the shadow business secretary, said at the House Sir Phillp can keep his knighthood provided he pays back the pension deficit "in full" from his own "ample wealth.

He added: "If all we do is posture in condemnation of one man we are doing little except indulge in competitive scapegoating. "

Lewis adds that it is extraordinary that legally Sir Philip Green has done nothing wrong.

Sir Philip is a 'billionaire spiv'

MP David Winnick has described Sir Philip as a "billionaire spiv, a billionaire spiv who should never have received a knighthood, a billionaire spiv which has shamed British capitalism, and the least we can do today is to make our views clear and strong."

If there's one person who doesn't deserve a knighthood, it's Sir Philip, Winnick said.

He adds: "I find it difficult to understand how a person whose tax arrangements are well-known, quite well-publicised, no secrets at all, should receive a knighthood in the first place. It's a damning indictment, in my view, of what occurred."

Background

Topshop owner Sir Philip Green has been branded the "unacceptable face of capitalism" in a scathing report.

It reveals how the tycoon "systematically" plundered hundreds of millions from retail chain BHS before leading it to disaster.

The billionaire enriched his family for more than a decade through a series of shady property deals, awarding himself fat dividend cheques and starving the retailer of investment, MPs conclude.

He doomed the 88-year-old chain by selling to a "manifestly unsuitable" bankrupt - who stuck his "hands in the till" - then blamed everyone but himself for the collapse, the inquiry found.

It reveals how the tycoon "systematically" plundered hundreds of millions from retail chain BHS before leading it to disaster.

The billionaire enriched his family for more than a decade through a series of shady property deals, awarding himself fat dividend cheques and starving the retailer of investment, MPs conclude.

He doomed the 88-year-old chain by selling to a "manifestly unsuitable" bankrupt - who stuck his "hands in the till" - then blamed everyone but himself for the collapse, the inquiry found.

Sir Philip, whose Arcadia Group owns Topshop and Miss Selfridge, bought BHS in 2000 but sold it for £1 in 2015 to Dominic Chappell, a thrice-bankrupt former racing driver with no retail experience.

It crashed into administration in April this year, costing 11,000 jobs and threatening the income of 20,000 pensioners.

What MPs say about Sir Philip

• Sir Philip Green ran BHS as a "personal fiefdom or a massive piggybank." - Iain Wright MP

• "Sir Philip was, and is, a traditional asset-stripper."- Frank Field MP

• "What goes through the mind of a knight of the realm to say those livelihoods and futures [of BHS workers] should be consigned to the control of a three time bankrupt?"- Richard Fuller MP

• Sir Philip "took the rings from BHS's fingers. He beat it black and blue. He starved it of food and water and put it on life support. "And then he wanted credit for keeping it alive."- Iain Wright MP

• Sir Philip is a "billionaire spiv who should never have received a knighthood, a billionaire spiv who has shamed British capitalism." - David Winnick MP

- Daily Telegraph UK

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