- Mike Ashley’s conditional acceptance to appear before MPs has been declined
- The Sports Direct owner has been corresponding with MP Iain Wright over his appearance
- Ashley is seeking legal advice over his scheduled appearance on June 7
Sports Direct founder Mike Ashley has threatened to abandon his appearance before MPs after they refused to visit the retailer’s Shirebrook warehouse.
Ashley has warned he may yet not appear at Parliament on June 7 after MPs declined his invitation to visit the warehouse, according to The Telegraph.
A Sports Direct spokesman it is “disappointed members of the committee have chosen not to visit Shirebrook in order to see working conditions with their own eyes, as we continue to believe that this is obviously the best way forward”.
He added: “The committee are well aware that Mike Ashley’s proposal to attend Westminster on June 7 was made on the understanding that MPs would visit Shirebrook on any day in advance of June 6.”
In correspondence with Ashley, the chairman of the Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) Select Committee, MP Iain Wright, said parliamentary committees “do not accept that witnesses attached conditions to attending in response to a summons”.
He added that Sports Direct’s founder was still expected to attend the hearing on June 7 and he would consider visiting Shirebrook after the evidence session takes place.
However, the spokesman for the retailer said the committee’s decision was “unfair” and that Ashley will “seek legal advice with regard to his position in relation to June 7”.
Sports Direct’s founder was first invited to a parliamentary hearing in March to discuss the working conditions at Shirebrook after an investigation by The Guardian found employees were effectively working below the minimum wage and were being subjected to extreme levels of searches and surveillance.
The retail mogul initially dismissed the investigation as showboating, but later agreed to appear before MPs on the condition that they paid a visit to the retailer’s Shirebrook warehouse beforehand.
Ashley and Wright have engaged in a lengthy correspondence regarding his scheduled parliamentary appearance, which you can read in full here.