Fresh allegations of sexual misconduct against retail tycoon Sir Philip Green have been made public after a Labour peer revealed them in Parliament.
Lord Hain, who last year named the Topshop boss as the person behind a legal injunction stopping a newspaper publishing claims of sexual harassment and racial abuse, reported that staff had made hundreds of complaints against Green, including allegations he grabbed women’s breasts and slapped their bottoms.
Green has said he “categorically and wholly” denies all claims.
Hain said one staff member told him that victims had gone to an employment tribunal, but were told “it would not get anywhere” so settled their cases and signed non-disclosure agreements (NDA).
The MP said his source had told him: “Some were worn down with spiralling legal costs costing them a fortune. He broke some in the end. It was horrible… He is still doing exactly the same thing. It is rife, it happened all the time.”
His disclosures “came during a debate about the use of parliamentary privilege – which allows MPs and peers to speak in parliament without fear of legal action – and the obligation under the rule of law to obey court orders”, reports The Guardian.
The Daily Telegraph says they “are likely to reignite calls for rules governing the use of non-disclosure agreements to be tightened and the revelations about Sir Philip’s alleged behaviour are likely to lead to renewed questions over whether he should be stripped of his knighthood”.
The former Labour minister, said that he had identified Green last year for “moral reasons” and that by naming him in Parliament, he believed that he “exposed gross injustice… when the law was clearly failing to do so”.
There have, however, been questions about Hain’s motives in using parliamentary privilege to publicly name Green.
According to the BBC, the tycoon’s lawyers said the Labour peer had failed to declare his role as an adviser to law firm Ince Gordon Dadds, which had acted for The Daily Telegraph after Green had brought an injunction against the newspaper which prevented it publishing details of allegations of sexual harassment and racist behaviour.
In April, the House of Lords standards body dismissed a complaint that Lord Hain had failed to declare an interest when he named Green.
The much-anticipated plans for the restructuring of his retail empire were finally unveiled on Thursday. Under the plans, Arcadia will close 23 of its 566 stores in UK and Ireland and is asking for rent reductions and friendlier leases on another 194. Topshop and Topman will retreat from the US entirely.
“Things are already going badly for the former billionaire,” says the Financial Times. Talks with landlords have been rumbling on for months as Green and his wife Tina, who is the ultimate owner of Arcadia, try to cut their rent bill during a tricky period for the high street.