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Sportswear tycoon in stand-off with MPs

Ashley ‘stalling’ as deadline for explaining USC job losses looms

MIke AshleyBillionaire sportswear boss Mike Ashley is caught up in another row – this time over his refusal to answer MPs’ questions over the sudden closure of a fashion storehouse in Ayrshire.

Scottish MPs want the Sports Direct tycoon to explain what commitments he has that mean he has no time “this month” to attend a meeting of the Scottish Affairs Committee which is  examining the loss of 200 jobs at one of his companies, USC, at short notice.

Parliament will be dissolved on 31 March for the General Election campaign and Mr Ashley’s stalling tactics are making it increasingly unlikely that MPs will persuade him to attend a meeting before that deadline.

Mr Ashley, owner of Newcastle United and a controversial shareholder in Rangers, is now said to be furious with the committee for leaking correspondence between them and his advisers, claiming it is an abuse of his human rights.

His lawyers have written to the MPs saying they had no right to publish confidential correspondence without the company’s consent.

The MPs say parliamentary privilege allows them the right to publish correspondence when it forms part of proceedings.

 

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