MPs call for Sir Philip Green to lose knighthood over BHS collapse

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BRITAIN-RETAIL/BHS

Sir Philip Green will face calls to be stripped of his knighthood as MPs probe the collapse of BHS.

Nearly 50 MPs have so far backed the proposal for the billionaire businessman to lose his title, awarded in 2006 for services to retail, which could be subject to a parliamentary vote.

Tory Richard Fuller and independent Michelle Thomson have tabled an amendment asking for the Honours Forfeiture Committee to recommend Sir Philip's knighthood is "cancelled and annulled".

MPs will also say the billionaire businessman should "fulfil his promise" to resolve the retail chain's multimillion-pound pension fund black hole during a Commons debate.

BHS went into administration shortly after being sold for £1 by Sir Philip, with a £571 million pension scheme deficit.

A motion for debate - led by Labour's Frank Field, chairman of the Work and Pensions Committee - states: "That this House notes the recent joint report by the Business, Innovation and Skills and the Work and Pensions Committees on BHS.

"(This House) endorses that report's criticisms of the governance of the company and of the holding company, Taveta Investments Limited.

"(This House) believes that the sale of the company to Retail Acquisitions Limited for £1 was clearly not in the interests of British Home Stores' employees and pensioners.

"(This House) notes the failure of Sir Philip Green over many years to resolve the deficit in the BHS pension fund; and calls on him to fulfil his promise to do so forthwith."

The amendment from Mr Fuller and Ms Thomson adds: "(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."

Speaker John Bercow is expected to decide if the amendment is debated, with its inclusion opening up the possibility of a non-binding vote.

Sir Philip used an ITV News interview to apologise to workers for the "hardship and sadness" caused by the collapse of BHS and claim he "did everything possible" to keep the business from going under.

He admitted it was a mistake to sell it to serial bankrupt Dominic Chappell but denied claims from Mr Field about his own conduct, with a review by the tycoon's lawyers labelling the parliamentary inquiry into the retailer's collapse as "bizarre" and "unsupportable".