Sandwichgate: Sports Direct hits back at MPs claims saying they overshadowed the happiness of Shirebrook workers

Oliver Gill
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Sports Direct Founder Faces Commons Select Committee Over Working Conditions
Mike Ashley said that Sports Direct staff had been used as a "political football" (Source: Getty)

Sports Direct's share price plummeted over three per cent after responding to the sensational allegations from MPs that its staff spied on a private meeting of MPs from the business select committee.

"The Board would like to make it clear that it did not authorise or have any knowledge of the possible recording device," Sports Direct said in a statement.

Yesterday afternoon, MPs were shocked when a staff member, bringing in sandwiches, allegedly brought a camera into a private meeting at the end of their impromptu tour of Sports Direct's controversial Shirebrook warehouses.

Read more: How Sports Direct spied on MPs with a camera hidden in sandwiches

Sports Direct had previously offered MPs the opportunity to turn up practically unannounced to inspect the site as a sign of the company's confidence that it had cleaned its act up in response to reports of draconian working conditions.

8 November 2016 @ 2:15pmSports Direct Intl (SPD)

However, Mike Ashley's company hit back at the claims from MPs, saying that it was "disappointed" that they had chosen to visit Shirebrook on a day when Ashley was not available.

Sports Direct also highlighted that MPs had expressed positive views after completing the tour and had given the workforce the chance to tell the committee exactly how things were.

"The [Sports Direct] board understands that at an impromptu open session arranged for the workforce to share their views with the MPs in the afternoon many workers expressed their dissatisfaction with how the Company was portrayed by the committee and the media," the company said.

Read more: MPs pay surprise visit to Sports Direct's Shirebrook warehouse

Such dissatisfaction from staff was carefully "choreographed" by Sports Direct according to Anna Turley, the MP who first found the camera in the room later in the day. "It felt very amateurish, very chaotic about they were trying to do," she said.

However, Sports Direct remained defiant.

As such, the board is disappointed that reporting of a possible recording device (the veracity of which has yet to be determined) has overshadowed the truly important issues that this visit should have focused on - the true working conditions and worker satisfaction at Shirebrook.

Meanwhile, Ashley said that it was his staff that he felt sorry for: "I stand firmly behind the people of Sports Direct, who through no fault of their own have been made a political football by MPs and unions."

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