Leading MP doubtful that Sir Philip Green can keep knighthood

Sir Philip Green

A leading MP in the investigation into the collapse of BHS believes there is little Sir Philip Green can do to justify keeping his knighthood, reports the Guardian.

Frank Field, the co-chair of the parliamentary inquiry into the retailer’s demise, was speaking before Thursday’s House of Commons debate on whether Green should be stripped of his knighthood.

Green sold BHS for £1 in 2015 to investors led by a former bankrupt, Dominic Chappell. The administrators were called in in April this year, later leading to the loss of 11,000 jobs and a £571m pension black hole.

Field told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “The key thing was coming up with a generous pension settlement, but he’s never done so. The flavour of this would change if he put concrete proposals which insured that the pensioners were better off than they are now, heading for the pension protection fund, that would help.

“Whether in fact – given the views now in the country which might be expressed on Thursday in the House of Commons – it’s possible to save his knighthood is clearly another matter.”

It is understood that the debate will not automatically lead to a vote among MPs, but will be subject to the Speaker’s approval.

If MPs did vote to strip Green of his prestigious title, it would be “persuasive” only. The forfeiture committee makes its decisions independently although the prime minister could make a recommendation.

Field and Green have repeatedly clashed through the course of the parliamentary investigation into the well-known high street retailer.

In a report concluding the investigation, MPs accused Green of “plundering” BHS, systematically taking money out of the business, leaving it on the brink of collapse and the pension fund in deficit.

Green, however, said the report contained factual and legal errors and claims he did everything possible to keep the business from going going under.

He said on Tuesday that he was “sad and very sorry” for the hardship caused by the collapse of BHS and said he was in “very strong dialogue” with the pensions regulator to find a solution to the pensions black hole.