The latest in the Mike Ashley saga sees the retail entrepreneur pull out of his meeting with MPs due to his lawyer being unable to attend.
The Sports Direct boss announced that he will not be making his scheduled appearance on 7 June before the Business, Innoavation and Skills Committee as his legal representative is “unavailable”.
Mike Ashley has consistently delayed the meeting which will investigate poor working conditions and zero-hour contracts at his Shirebrook warehouse.
Iain Wright, BIS Committee Chair, said he was disappointed by the “eleventh-hour notification” after giving Ashley “a notice period of three months to make the necessary arrangements”.
“Business leaders regularly come before the committee and answer our questions. Sir Philip Green, for example, has agreed to attend as part of our joint inquiry into BHS.
“Does Mr Ashley, owning and operating a business in a parliamentary democracy, see himself as being beyond such public scrutiny? What has he got to be frightened of?”
If Ashley continues to avoid the committee, greater pressures will be accordingly delegated. For example Parliament may have to hold a debate as to whether Ashley is a fit and proper candidate to lead the business, or they could rule him as in contempt of Parliament for refusing to attend.
“As democratically elected MPs, we are responding to serious allegations of exploitative employment-practices and mistreatment of workers at Sports Direct” Wright added.
“Mr Ashley announced in December he would personally oversee a review of working practices at the Shirebrook warehouse.
“It is entirely reasonable for the Select Committee to ask Mr Ashley to respond to those allegations and comment on how his review – announced over six months ago – is progressing.”
The Committee said it will be deciding its next steps on the matter in its session on Tuesday.