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MPs vote for Green to be stripped of knighthood

MPs have approved a motion recommending ex-BHS owner Sir Philip Green should be stripped of his knighthood following a debate in the House of Commons.

During the session, Sir Philip was labelled a "billionaire spiv" and compared to Napoleon as MPs roundly criticised his role in the retail firm's collapse.

Sir Philip Green should be stripped of his knighthood, MPs have said Credit: PA

The motion, which led to today's debate, asked for the Honours Forfeiture Committee recommend the billionaire's knighthood be "cancelled and annulled".

MPs backed the non-binding motion unopposed, meaning no full vote was needed.

During the three-hour debate, Sir Philip was accused "asset-stripping" the high street retailer and treating it as his "own personal plaything", as well as having a "belligerent" attitude to the issue.

Iain Wright, chairman of the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee, said BHS is "one of the biggest corporate scandals of modern times.

"[Sir Philip] took the rings from BHS's fingers, he beat it black and blue, he starved it of food and water, he put it on life support, and then he wanted credit for keeping it alive."

MP David Winnick added: "I see Green as a billionaire spiv, a billionaire spiv who should never have received a knighthood, a billionaire spiv who has shamed British capitalism, and the least we can do today is to make our views clear and strong."

A spokesman for Sir Philip declined to comment.

SNP MP: Sir Philip's BHS apology 'too little, too late'

Ian Blackford accused Sir Philip of trying to 'duck his duties to workers'.

SNP MP Ian Blackford has said Sir Philip Green's apology over the collapse of BHS "is too little to late".

As MPs debated whether the former owner of the high street chain should be stripped off his knighthood, Mr Blackford said: "Sir Philip Green decided to say he is sad and very sorry for the hardship caused by the BHS collapse and that he still wants to sort out the pension deficit."

"Green has still tried to defend the indefensible and duck his duties to workers by shifting the blame," he added.

Sir Philip told ITV News he is 'sad and very sorry' over the collapse of BHS. Credit: ITV News

Mr Blackford also warned the Government not to think "it can walk away" from its responsibilities to effectively regulate business and pensions schemes.

He added: "While Sir Philip Green's hand's are filthy, the Tory government's paws are not so clean either."

MP: 'No other option' but to support stripping Sir Philip's knighthood

Sir Philip Green was knighted in 2006 for services to retail. Credit: PA

MPs have "no other option" but to support stripping Sir Philip Green of his knighthood given his failure to take action over the BHS pension fund, a Conservative MP has said.

During a Commons debate on the issue, Richard Fuller suggested Sir Philip had failed "to find his moral compass" in not addressing the chain's pension deficit over the summer.

Mr Fuller, who served on the Commons Business Select Committee which investigated the BHS' collapse, said:

"We do not make the final decision, but I think it is worthy and honourable for this House to have a view about Sir Phillip Green.

"Over the summer, Sir Phillip has had the opportunity to find his moral compass, to do the right thing.

"In the absence of that, the House has no other option but to support the amendment and the motion."

Mr Fuller tabled the amendment,signed by more than 110 MPs, recommending Sir Philip's knighthood be cancelled and annulled.

Frank Field compares Sir Philip Green to Napoleon

MPs are debating a proposal for Sir Philip Green to be stripped of his knighthood following the collapse of high street BHS.

A backbench motion for the debate has asked for the Honours Forfeiture Committee to recommend Sir Philip's knighthood is "cancelled and annulled".

Labour MP Frank Field, who as chair of the Work and Pensions Committee, questioned Sir Philip over the collapse, described it as "a sad, slowly unfolding Greek tragedy".

He added: "Literally nothing happened at BHS or Arcadia without Sir Philip deciding directly or people knowing what his mind was and they knew they would get approval."

He also compared Sir Philip as a Napoleon: "In my mind's eye this was a character most like the Napoleon I read about in history books when I was at school."

Later in the debate, he added: "Despite all the razzmatazz and so on, there's nothing the committee could find or evidence that was presented to the committee which shows that Sir Philip Green was king of the high street.

"He was and is a very successful traditional asset-stripper."


Watch live: MPs debate stripping Sir Philip Green of his knighthood

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MPs are debating a proposal for Sir Philip Green to be stripped of his knighthood following the collapse of high street chain BHS.

A motion for the debate has asked the Honours Forfeiture Committee to recommend Sir Philip's knighthood is "cancelled and annulled".

The committee is already considering whether to strip Sir Philip, the current owner of Topshop, of his title.

Earlier this week, speaking exclusively to ITV News, Sir Philip offered an apology to BHS workers for the "hardship and sadness" caused by its demise.

Ex BHS staff's anger as pressure mounts on Green

Former BHS staff have spoken of their anger following the collapse of the retail chain, as pressure grows on the Government to strip Sir Philip Green of his knighthood.

In an exclusive interview on Tuesday, Sir Philip told ITV News Political Editor Robert Peston he will do “whatever it takes” to resolve the BHS pensions crisis.

But some of former workers feel the comments come too little too late.

Consumer Editor Chris Choi reports:

Green could pay 'hundreds of millions' into pension fund

Sir Philip Green could end up paying "hundreds of millions" from his personal fortune into the BHS pension fund.

Former Pensions Minister Baroness Ros Altmann told ITV News: "I hope that he will come up with enough money to make sure his former workers get more than they would have got from the Payment Protection Fund.

"It will mean him putting in a significant sum of money into the pension scheme."

ITV News Business Editor Joel Hills has said he would be expected to contribute "north of £200m".

He added: "It could be resolved today, if Sir Philip Green is minded to. He knows exactly what the pension regulator wants, what it's looking for - he's just got to agree to sign the cheque.

"Sir Philip Green has to come up with a sufficient amount of cash to keep the scheme running - for about 50 years and deliver on all those promises that he has made to the 20,000 members to the scheme.

"The deficit, officially, is £571m... but it will cost well north of £200m."

'Still no concrete offer' to resolve BHS pensions crisis

BHS pension trustee chairman Chris Martin has told MPs "discussions are continuing" to resolve its multimillion-pound pension fund black hole but confirmed there is no "single concrete proposal on the table at the moment".

Speaking at the Work and Pensions Select Committee, Mr Martin said his priority was to get the best deal for pension holders but warned they were not likely to get the full benefits they had expected before the retail chain's collapse.

He said he aimed to get members a better return than they would receive through the Pension Protection Fund (PPF).

"I think the trustees have to be realistic about this, on behalf of the members," he said, adding: "Settling somewhere between PPF and full benefits might be the best outcome that can be delivered."

Mr Martin also confirmed the possibility of so-called "wind-up lump sums" - one-off pension payments - were "still being discussed".

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