Sir Philip Green hits out at 'prejudiced' Frank Field over BHS inquiries

British Home Stores in administration

Sir Philip Green has called for the MP leading the inquiries into BHS to resign because he is "prejudiced".

The retail boss first broke his silence over the high street chain's collapse claiming that he wanted to correct "inaccurate and misleading" reports about his conduct when he faces MPs, and warned them not to jump to conclusions.

After MP Frank Field, chairman of the Work and Pensions Committee, suggested his knighthood could be at stake over a huge BHS pension gap, Sir Philip hit back in a statement to the Financial Times, saying he was "horrified" by Mr Field's comments.

He said: "Clearly he has already made his decision as to what he feels the punishment should be without even hearing any evidence from anybody about BHS or the circumstances of the last 15 years."

Sir Philip criticised Mr Field for failing to understand BHS's finances and asked how the hearing he is due to attend on June 15 could be balanced.

He added: "I think Mr Field needs to stand down from the inquiry immediately as he is clearly prejudiced."

Sir Philip has come in for widespread criticism after the retailer collapsed last week, a year after he sold it for £1, putting 11,000 jobs at risk and leaving a £571 million pension fund black hole.

MPs from the Business and Work and Pensions select committees will probe the billionaire over a £400 million dividend payment made to his family from the business and over his management of the pension scheme.

In an earlier letter to Mr Field and Iain Wright, chairman of the Business Committee, the retail tycoon cautioned them against "jumping to conclusions" over his role in BHS's administration.

Referring to statements by various MPs claiming he asset stripped BHS, dumped it with a pension deficit and should lose his knighthood, Sir Philip said: "These statements suggest that you are leaping to conclusions before any evidence from any witness has been heard. They suggest that there will be no real attempt to run your inquiries in a fair way and that the outcome is pre-determined."

The letter continues: "The inquiries of your committees depend on the voluntary assistance of witnesses. As you are aware, your inquiries now overlap with a number of parallel regulatory and other investigations and proceedings.

"You must appreciate that witnesses will be less willing to offer your committees their assistance if the committee chairs do not act in a responsible way, in particular appearing to encourage public vilification of witnesses before the inquiries have even begun."

The man Sir Philip sold BHS to, Dominic Chappell, will also appear before the committees.

Business Secretary Sajid Javid has also ordered the Insolvency Service to carry out an immediate investigation into the circumstances surrounding the collapse of BHS, including the extent to which directors' conduct was to blame.

The investigation will look not only at the company's directors at the time of its insolvency, but also previous directors such as Sir Philip, who controlled BHS from 2000 to 2015. Any of them found to have been involved in misconduct could be disqualified from acting as a director for up to 15 years.