Green to lodge formal complaint against Hain over allegations in Lords

PA

Sir Philip Green is to lodge a formal complaint against the Labour peer who named him as the businessman at the centre of #MeToo allegations of sexual harassment and racial abuse.

Former cabinet minister Lord Hain used the protection of parliamentary privilege to identify the Arcadia chairman as the individual behind a legal injunction preventing The Daily Telegraph from publishing "confidential information" from five employees.

Sir Philip said he would complain to the Lords authorities that Lord Hain failed to disclose he had a financial relationship with the Telegraph's lawyers.

Lord Hain, who acts as a global and governmental adviser for the law firm Gordon Dadds, said he had been "completely unaware" it was acting for the Telegraph in the case.

Telegraph
Telegraph

But Sir Philip said: "When Lord Hain made allegations about me in the House of Lords ... he failed to disclose that he has a financial relationship with the law firm, Gordon Dadds, who represent the Telegraph.

"I have been advised that his actions are likely to have been a breach of the House of Lords Code of Conduct. As many people have said Lord Hain's blatant disregard of a judgment made by three senior judges is outrageous.

"If he hadn't read the judgment, on what basis was he apparently talking about it. If he had, Gordon Dadds' name is on the front page.

"I will be lodging formal complaints with the relevant authorities in the House of Lords."

Sir Philip repeated that "to the extent that it is suggested that I have been guilty of unlawful sexual or racist behaviour, I categorically and wholly deny these allegations".

He refused to comment on Friday to a Sky News crew who tracked him down to the Canyon Ranch health resort in Tuscon, Arizona.

He told the reporter who tried to question him: "You need to leave. Can you go away? I believe you're being intrusive."

The BBC's business editor Simon Jack reported that the businesswoman and star of the BBC's The Apprentice, Baroness Brady, had told him she would make a statement on Monday after the Telegraph highlighted her role as chairman of Taveta, the holding company of Arcadia.

Lord Hain said he felt he had a "duty" to name Sir Philip, after legal experts strongly criticised his decision to exercise his right to do so while the case was still going through the courts.

He insisted he took his decision acting in a "personal capacity", adding: "I categorically state that I was completely unaware Gordon Dadds were advising the Telegraph regarding this case.

"Gordon Dadds, a highly respected and reputable international law firm, played absolutely no part whatsoever in either the sourcing of my information or my independent decision to name Sir Philip.

"They were completely unaware of my intentions until after I spoke in the House of Lords"

Dominic Grieve
Dominic Grieve

Former attorney general Dominic Grieve QC said Lord Hain's behaviour had been "clearly arrogant" and he had abused parliamentary privilege in deciding he knew better than the courts.

The identification of Sir Philip led to fresh calls for the Honours Forfeiture Committee to consider withdrawing his knighthood – previously challenged in the furore over shortfalls in the BHS pension scheme.

Downing Street stressed that the Honours Forfeiture Committee was independent.

"They are constantly reviewing evidence in relation to matters like this," a Number 10 spokeswoman said.

Lord Hain told peers on Thursday he had been contacted by someone "intimately involved" in a case of a wealthy businessman using non-disclosure agreements and payments "to conceal the truth about serious and repeated sexual harassment, racist abuse and bullying".

The Telegraph has written to Sir Philip's lawyers threatening to quickly return to court for the trial unless they drop the injunction.

Ending the legal battle would allow its reporters to air the allegations from those who entered controversial non-disclosure agreements.