Debate Magazine

A Sternly Worded Letter

Posted on the 11 March 2016 by Markwadsworth @Mark_Wadsworth

From the Guardian
The Sports Direct founder, Mike Ashley, has been warned he could be found in contempt of parliament after failing to give MPs a date to answer questions about his company’s treatment of workers.

The move represents the latest setback to the tycoon and owner of Premier League strugglers Newcastle United. Ashley has seen almost £1bn wiped from his personal fortune after a downturn in trading at the store chain and a Guardian investigation which revealed that thousands of the retailer’s temporary warehouse workers were receiving effective hourly rates of pay below the minimum wage.

In a strongly worded letter to the billionaire, Iain Wright MP, the chairman of the business, innovation and skills (BIS) committee, said: “A number of alternative dates have been offered to you by the committee clerk, but as yet you have not accepted any of them, nor agreed in principle to attend. As you will be aware, select committees do not normally need to have recourse to our formal powers to summon witnesses in order to secure attendance; refusal to attend without good reason may be considered a contempt of the house.

“Should you fail in your reply to agree to attend on one of the dates offered to you, or a mutually convenient alternative before 1 June, the committee reserves the right to take the matter further, including seeking the support of the House of Commons in respect of any complaint of contempt.”

Wright has given Ashley, who owns 55% of Sports Direct, until 21 March to reply.
And Ashley will probably do nothing. Because he knows exactly what's intended, which is for Iain Wright to make a grandstanding public spectacle, much like Margaret Hodge does, and he sees no benefit from doing so. So, he's politely telling Iain Wright to go fuck himself.


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