Sir Philip Green has been named as the “leading businessman” at the centre of the “British #MeToo scandal”.
Former cabinet minister Peter Hain named Green on Thursday after he found an ancient parliamentary right to name him in the House of Lords.
Green had previously been protected by a temporary injunction, which blocked the Daily Telegraph from publishing allegations of misconduct and “confidential information” from five employees.
Hain said on Thursday: “Having been contacted by somebody intimately involved in the case of a powerful businessman using non-disclosure agreements and substantial payments to conceal the truth about serious and repeated sexual harassment, racist abuse and bullying which is compulsively continuing, I feel it’s my duty under parliamentary privilege to name Philip Green as the individual in question, given that the media have been subject to an injunction preventing publication of the full details of a story which is clearly in the public interest.”
The Topshop tycoon has “categorically and wholly denies” all allegations. He said in a statement: “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 said. “[Topshop parent group] Arcadia and I take accusations and grievances from employees very seriously and in the event that one is raised, it is thoroughly investigated.”
“Arcadia employs more than 20,000 people and in common with many large businesses sometimes receives formal complaints from employees. In some cases these are settled with the agreement of all parties and their legal advisers. These settlements are confidential so I cannot comment further on them.”
Addressing the use of non-disclosure agreements in prime minister’s questions on Wednesday, Theresa May said: “Non-disclosure agreements cannot stop people from whistleblowing, but it is clear that some employers are using them unethically.”
If the allegations are proved to be correct, MPs have called for Green to be stripped of his knighthood.
“The charge sheet against the knighthood is growing,” said Labour’s Frank Field.