Newcastle owner agrees to appear before MPs - if he can fly them to Sports Direct warehouse, claim reports

Picture by PA.
Picture by PA.
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Newcastle owner and Sports Direct founder Mike Ashley has finally agreed to appear before MPs at Westminister to give evidence about his company's employment practices, according to reports.

The controversial businessman has previously refused to answer questions before the Business, Innovation and Skills Committee, which is chaired by Hartlepool MP Iain Wright.

However, the Telegraph is reporting the NUFC boss has now agreed to appear before MPs next month - on condition the politicians visit his Shirebrook premises the day before.

In a letter to Mr Wright, he includes an invitation to fly the MPs in his helicopter to the Sports Direct warehouse.

Mr Wright’s office has said the issue will be discussed at a meeting next week.

It comes over two months after Mr Ashley was first called before Parliament to give evidence after a Guardian investigation last year claimed thousands of Sports Direct workers were effectively being paid below the minimum wage due to the time they spent in extra security checks.

MPs previously turned down an invitation from Mr Ashley to visit Sports Direct’s warehouse in Shirebrook after Mr Wright, chairman of the Business, Innovation and Skills Committee said that their questions should be heard and answered in public and on the record.

The Telegraph claims it has seen detailed private correspondence between Mr Wright and Mr Ashley which show he has agreed a compromise: if the committee visits Shirebrook on June 6, he will “agree to attend before your Committee at Westminster on 7 June”.

This would “have the clear benefit of allowing the Committee to see the working conditions at Shirebrook first hand. And, in the event of me being unable to answer any questions your Committee may have, making available others in real time who are in a better position to assist you," the correspondence apparently includes.

The committee is due to gather on Monday and Wednesday, when it will discuss the threat to BHS’s future, and on Tuesday, when the agenda includes a discussion on business views on the EU Referendum.