Sir Philip Green is set to lodge a formal complaint against the Labour peer who named him as the businessman at the centre of #MeToo allegations of sexual harassment and racial abuse.
Earlier this week Lord Hain used the protection of parliamentary privilege to identify the Arcadia chairman as the individual behind a legal injunction preventing The Daily Telegraph from publishing ‘confidential information’ from five employees.
Sir Philip Green has told the BBC’s business editor Simon Jack that he intends to complain to the Lord’s authorities that Lord Hain failed to disclose he had a financial relationship with the Telegraph’s lawyers.
Lord Hain acts as a global and governmental adviser for the law firm Gordon Dadds.
The former cabinet minister said he had been ‘completely unaware’ it was acting for the Telegraph in the case.
However Mr Jack said Sir Philip had told him that if Lord Hain had read the judgment he would have seen the firm’s name on the first page.
Mr Jack said businesswoman Baroness Brady, had told him she would be making a statement on Monday after the Telegraph highlighted her role as chairman of Taveta, the holding company of Arcadia.
Lord Hain has been condemned by some of Britain’s leading figures for a ‘shameless assault’ on the rule of law.
Lord Macdonald of River Glaven, a former director of public prosecutions said: ‘Parliament may be sovereign, but to publicly flout court rulings in this way is a shameless assault on the rule of law and no different from the bigoted attacks of populists.’
The identification of Sir Philip led to fresh calls for the Honours Forfeiture Committee to consider withdrawing his knighthood – previously challenged in the furore over shortfalls in the BHS pension scheme.
Downing Street stressed that the Honours Forfeiture Committee was independent.
‘They are constantly reviewing evidence in relation to matters like this,’ a Number 10 spokeswoman said.
Lord Hain told peers on Thursday he had been contacted by someone ‘intimately involved’ in a case of a wealthy businessman using non-disclosure agreements and payments ‘to conceal the truth about serious and repeated sexual harassment, racist abuse and bullying’.
He caused a storm yesterday when he dramatically named Sir Philip in the chamber, after the newspaper was prevented from identifying him in a story about allegations of sexual and racial harassment.
Arcadia boss Sir Philip has flatly denied any wrongdoing.
Anything Members of Parliament say in the chamber is subject to ‘absolute privilege’, and cannot be controlled by judges.
Lord Hain did not declare his interest as ‘Global and Governmental Adviser’ to Gordon Dadds as he rose to make his comments about the case yesterday.
‘I took the decision to name Sir Philip Green in my personal capacity as an independent member of the House Of Lords,’ he said.
‘I categorically state that I was completely unaware Gordon Dadds were advising the Telegraph regarding this case.
‘Gordon Dadds, a highly respected and reputable international law firm, played absolutely no part whatsoever in either the sourcing of my information or my independent decision to name Sir Philip.
‘They were completely unaware of my intentions until after I spoke in the House of Lords.’
The law firm told the BBC Lord Hain had not obtained any information from them about the case.
Legal experts today questioned Lord Hain’s decision to exercise his right to name Sir Philip because the case is going through the courts.
Former attorney general Dominic Grieve QC said Lord Hain’s behaviour had been ‘clearly arrogant’ and he had abused parliamentary privilege in deciding he knew better than the courts.
‘You cannot operate a democratic, free society subject to the rule of law when peers or MPs decide quite capriciously to take the law into their own hands,’ he told BBC Radio 4’s World at One.
And ex-lord chief justice Lord Judge told the programme he thought Lord Hain was wrong, adding: ‘I don’t think that parliamentary privilege is designed to take away any citizen’s rights, even if we don’t very much like them.’
The principle of parliamentary privilege means that MPs and peers cannot be sued for libel for comments made in the Houses of Parliament, and offers protection to media outlets reporting those comments.
Lord Hain said he felt he had a ‘duty’ to name Sir Philip.
Meanwhile, the Telegraph has written to the tycoon’s lawyers threatening to quickly return to court for the trial unless they drop the injunction.
Ending the legal battle would allow its reporters to air the allegations from those who entered controversial non-disclosure agreements.
Lord Hain told peers yesterday that he had been contacted by someone ‘intimately involved’ in a case of a wealthy businessman using non-disclosure agreements and payments ‘to conceal the truth about serious and repeated sexual harassment, racist abuse and bullying’.
He said: ‘I feel it’s my duty under parliamentary privilege to name Philip Green as the individual in question given that the media have been subject to an injunction preventing publication of the full details of a story which is clearly in the public interest.’
Sir Philip responded in a statement, saying: ‘I am not commenting on anything that has happened in court or was said in Parliament today.
‘To the extent that it is suggested that I have been guilty of unlawful sexual or racist behaviour, I categorically and wholly deny these allegations.
‘Arcadia and I take accusations and grievances from employees very seriously and in the event that one is raised, it is thoroughly investigated.
‘Arcadia employs more than 20,000 people and in common with many large businesses sometimes receives formal complaints from employees.
‘In some cases these are settled with the agreement of all parties and their legal advisers.
‘These settlements are confidential so I cannot comment further on them.’