Sports Direct founder Mike Ashley to answer MPs' questions this morning

 
Caitlin Morrison
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Mike Ashley faces a grilling by MPs this morning (Source: Getty)

Sports Direct's billionaire founder Mike Ashley will finally face MPs' questions this morning, after months of avoiding calls to appear in front of the business, innovation and skills (BIS) select committee.

Ashley will be quizzed over allegations about working practices at the company's Shirebrook warehouse in Derbyshire. Sports Direct has been criticised for its treatment of workers at the warehouse.

At the company's 2015 AGM, Unite the union staged a protest against what it termed "Victorian" conditions at Shirebrook.

The retailer has previously has rejected the charge that it effectively pays some staff below the national minimum wage by requiring them to queue for security checks on their own time at the end of a shift.

The Newcastle United owner had initially refused to appear in front of the committee, and then said he would answer questions if the BIS committee agreed to visit the Shirebrook warehouse as a condition for his attendance at a hearing, but MPs rejected that offer.

In March, the committee ran out of patience with Ashley, and set the date for his hearing.

He then refused to accept the invitation, and as recently as last week said he would not be attending - however, on Sunday, Ashley revealed that he would appear before the committee. His hearing is due to begin at 11am.

"We look forward to Mr Ashley answering our questions. As a committee, we want to get a sense of the genuine and balanced picture at Sports Direct and establish whether there are issues for the wider economy which need further examination, such as the status and rights of agency workers,” said BIS committee chair Iain Wright.

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