News, Politics

Pressure on Government for Billionaire Business Tycoon Philip Green to be Stripped of Knighthood

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By Shawna Healey

Pressure has been put on the government for billionaire business tycoon Philip Green to be stripped of knighthood after alleged sexual, physical and racial abuse to staff.

Philip Green is a British billionaire and owner of the company Arcadia, which owns well known high-street shops such as Topshop/Topman, Evans, Miss Selfridge and Burton, amongst many more. Arcadia also previously owned British Homes Stores before it closed due to entering administration after failure of finding a buyer.

Phliip Green had “gagged” – or put an injunction on – The Telegraph, legally prohibiting the newspaper from releasing his name in an investigation into abuse.

Lord Peter Hain, former shadow cabinet minster, used the legal protection of the House of Lords to name Philip Green as the subject of the Telegraph’s ongoing investigation into allegations of a formerly unnamed business owner sexually and racially abusing staff, back in October 2018.

The Daily Telegraph reported that Green groped a female executive and then paid her more than £1m to stay quiet, as well as mocking a male employee’s dreadlocks and referring to him as “throwing spears in the jungle”.

Lawyers representing Sir Philip told The Telegraph: “It is … denied that any of Sir Philip’s conduct towards employees amounted to any type of crime, or anything that would amount to gross misconduct, or a serious risk to health and safety.”

The Labour Party have renewed calls for Green to be stripped of his knighthood. Labour chairman Ian Lavery said: “If the allegations are true, then Philip Green should be stripped of his knighthood. The public rightly expect high standards from public figures and they’re not getting it. The honours system is clearly flawed and the prime minister should take steps to remove honours from people who bring their office into disrepute.”

Mr Lavery also condemned the use of NDAs (nondisclosure agreements) to suppress allegations of criminal behaviour.
What is an NDA?
According to Rocket Lawyer, a nondisclosure agreement is a “a legally enforceable contract that creates a confidential relationship between a person who holds some kind of trade secret and a person to whom the secret will be disclosed”.

Confidentiality agreements typically serve three key functions:

  1. NDAs protect sensitive information. 
  2. In the case of new product or concept development, a confidentiality agreement can help the inventor keep patent rights. 
  3. Confidentiality agreements and NDAs expressly outline what information is private and what’s fair game.
The use of nondisclosure agreements now faces calls for reform as a result of the case. According to Lavery: “NDAs should never be used to suppress allegations of criminal behaviour”. Lavery also states that the “next Labour government will review the statute book to ensure that the law protects the voices of survivors.”
Liberal Democrat leader Vince Cable also called for Green to lose his knighthood after Green dropped his legal case against The Daily Telegraph. 
Green needed a court ruling that would allow him to drop the case due to the injunction that was in place. On Friday, Justice Warby granted this ruling, but declined to impose conditions to stop Sir Philip and the companies suing either The Telegraph or the former employees in future, which had been requested by The Telegraph.
Sir Vince Cable told The Independent: “I would have thought that by now Philip Green would understand the wisdom of the old saying that if you find yourself in a hole, stop digging.
“It is appalling that he is still threatening legal action and still hiding behind gagging orders. The government needs to make good on its promise to scrap the abuse of NDAs.

“The honour committee should also take urgent action to restore the integrity of the honours system of which Philip Green’s knighthood currently makes a mockery.”

Former people to have their knighthood revokes by the government’s Honours Forfeiture Committee include convicted paedophile Rolf Harris and banker Fred Goodwin, who played a sizeable role in the Royal Bank of Scotland’s (RBS) near-collapse in 2008.

About the author / 

Shawna Healey

I'm Shawna, 21, and Welsh studying Geography at MMU. I have varying interests and opinions but usually its all things feminism.

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