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PHILIP GREEN should be stripped of his knighthood if claims that he sexually and racially abused his company employees are true, Labour chairman Ian Lavery said today.
The tax-dodging tycoon Mr Green, who owns the Arcadia Group of high street shops, is accused of groping and kissing a female executive and buying her silence with more than £1 million.
The Monaco-based billionaire also allegedly referred to a black employee “throwing spears in the jungle” while drawing attention to his dreadlocks, and referred to a Chinese businessman as “Mr Ching Chong Charlie.”
It is also alleged that he complained of his company employing “too many black people,” the Daily Telegraph reported on Saturday.
The allegations against Mr Green by five employees in total were revealed by the Daily Telegraph after he was forced to back down on his action against the newspaper at the High Court on Friday.
The Sunday Telegraph printed a further allegation, reporting that two executives corroborated a woman’s complaint to a lawyer and that their comments failed to surface in a final report.
Millions of pounds were allegedly paid out in settlements with staff members, while non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) were put in place to prevent any of the five staff members from speaking out.
Topshop owner Mr Green, who has been referred to as the “unacceptable face of capitalism” by the business and pensions select committees, denied his behaviour was criminal or amounted to gross misconduct.
However Mr Lavery said: “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 Green still holds on to his knighthood after the House of Commons approved a measure in 2016 to ask the honours forfeiture committee to take it away for his role in the downfall of high street chain BHS.
Liberal Democrat leader Vince Cable also called for Mr Green to be stripped of his knighthood and said he had only “narrowly” escaped this happening amid the scandal over shortfalls in the BHS pension scheme.
PM Theresa May’s former policy adviser George Freeman has also said the honour should be revoked if the allegations were true.
The MP for Mid Norfolk said: “Honours like knighthoods and peerages are granted to people in good faith on the basis of what seems at the time a distinguished public record.
“If it transpires that there was indeed some fraud or misconduct or wilful misleading of people or abuse of office,” the honour should be withdrawn, he said.
The chorus of calls for Mr Green to lose his knighthood follows Lord Hain’s decision to use parliamentary privilege to unmask him last October as the tycoon who had gagged the newspaper over allegations of bullying, racial abuse and sexual harassment.
The allegations have triggered Treasury Chief Secretary Liz Truss to say NDA laws need changing to prevent their “disgraceful” abuse.
“I think it’s completely wrong that people like Philip Green have been able to flout the law,” she told Sky’s Ridge on Sunday.
Work and Pensions Secretary Amber Rudd also set out plans today to jail company bosses for up to seven years or impose unlimited fines if they fall foul of a new offence of “wilfully or recklessly” mismanaging employee pensions.
Currently, only certain offences, such as obstructing or providing false information to the pensions regulator, carry a prison sentence capped at a maximum of two years.
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