Sports Direct boss Mike Ashley has continued to delay his impending appearance in parliament while looking for alternative representatives.
The stubborn retail entrepreneur has urged director of two agencies used by Sports Direct to employ temporary staff in its warehouses to meet with MPs from the Business, Innovation and Skills Select Committee. Ashley is still reluctant to attend unless his specific conditions are met.
In a letter – seen by the Financial Times, to directors at Best Connection and Transline Group, Ashley stated: “I am writing to put on record that I encourage you to attend and to be open and honest,” adding that “Sports Direct has nothing to hide.”
On being summoned to appear before the Business Committee, Ashley outlined that he will attend on the condition that MPs visit his Shirebrook warehouse beforehand. Nonetheless, this was rejected by MPs last week.
In response, Ashley said through a spokesman that the “committee are clearly being unfair” and that he plans to take legal action. He added that he is “bitterly disappointed” at the MPs’ refusal and believes “the media is only interested in creating a media circus”.
While it is not clear whether Ashley will attend the meeting this month, a continued refusal to cooperate may result in more severe consequences.
Ashley has been summoned by MPs on multiple occasions, the current issue regards allegations made in 2015 that the business was paying its staff less than minimum wage. Sports Direct has now committed to paying at least this amount which has cost the company £10m.