War of words reignites over BHS as Sir Philip Green objects to comments by MP Frank Field about his company "nicking"

Tracey Boles
Celebrities On The Front Row: Day Four - LFW Spring/Summer 2011
Green (Source: Getty)

THE war of words between retail tycoon Sir Philip Green and Frank Field, chair of the Work and Pensions Select Committee, has reignited after the MP accused Green's company of “nicking” which is investigating the collapse of BHS.

In an evidence session with Sir Philip’s right-hand man, Paul Budge, into the collapse of BHS, Field said: “A huge amount of money has gone out of these companies, gone to one family. That family could sort the pension out now if it wished to.”

“We’re fed up with hearing ‘I’m about to fix it’,” said Field. “What’s required is a very large cheque from the Green family that has done so well out of the whole of this exploitation.”

Addressing Budge, who is finance director of Sir Philip’s Arcadia group, Field said: “The City is furious with your behaviour, the image you put over that everybody in business is not about spreading wealth but is about nicking money off other people. Sir Philip could fix this today if he was serious.”

Green responded in a statement saying: "Mr Field's outrageous today demonstrated yet again his clear prejudice against myself, my wife and my executives, who turned up for a second time."

"He arrived very late, offered no apology, heard no evidence, clearly just to put on a ten minute show and was extremely rude. Accusing me and my family of theft is totally false and unacceptable on any basis."

"The committee was made fully aware of the fact that a solution for the BHS pension funds is being worked on. His behaviour is as far as you can get from being helpful to anyone in this situation.

"Mr Field needs to apologise for his shocking and offensive behaviour."

Sir Philip had previously called on Field to resign after the latter said the tycoon should be stripped of his knighthood unless he agreed to plug the hole in the BHS pension scheme.

Sir Philip sold BHS for £1 to a twice bankrupt former racing driver Dominic Chappell in March 2015. It fell into administration in May this year.

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