Former BHS owner Sir Philip Green says he will appear before a parliamentary inquiry as questioning over the retailer’s collapse continues.
The billionaire had suggested that he might not attend the hearing amid concerns that he would not receive a “fair hearing” from the Work and Pensions Committee.
The committee’s chairman, Frank Field, has been openly critical of Green and said the panel of MPs “would laugh” if the tycoon offered anything less than £600m to settle BHS’s £571m pension deficit.
Green, who sold BHS for £1 to Retail Acquisitions in March last year, claimed he would not attend parliament unless Field stepped down as chair of the committee.
Green suggested at the weekend that Field’s participation in the BHS inquiry would “obstruct a resolution”, adding that he was “not prepared to participate in a process which has not even the pretence of fairness and objectivity.”
Field refused to step down or respond to Green’s latest letter.
But following accusations last week from Dominic Chappell, head of the Retail Acquisitions consortium, that Green scuppered their sale of BHS to Mike Ashley’s Sports Direct, the Arcadia chief has made a U-turn and opted to give evidence.
Green said in a statement: “I am disappointed not to have had a reply to either of my letters sent to Mr Field. I did not think or believe that those conducting a parliamentary process would or should express concluded views in such a public way before I have had the chance to appear before the committee.
“Having given long and hard thought to the matter however, I have decided I will attend tomorrow morning, hoping and trusting that the committee will give me a fair hearing.
“This will be the first and only opportunity I have had to tell my side of the very sad BHS story and I will do my best to answer all the questions put to me in an honest and open way.”