Mar 21, 2016
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Sports Direct's Ashley refuses to face UK lawmakers

Mar 21, 2016

Sports Direct founder Mike Ashley will refuse to face British lawmakers in parliament to answer questions about the treatment of workers at his company, the UK's biggest sportswear retailer, despite being formally summoned, he told Sky News.

On Tuesday the Business, Innovation and Skills Committee said it could take action against Ashley if he refused to appear before the committee in the lower house of parliament in June.

However, on Monday Ashley told Sky News he would challenge the formal order.

"I am not willing to stand idle while this company is subjected to public vilification which is against the best interests of everybody who works at Sports Direct," he said.

"My current intention is that I will not attend Westminster on June 7 as I believe the proposal by (committee chairman) Iain Wright MP is an abuse of the Parliamentary process."

Ashley, who is deputy chairman of Sports Direct, holding 55 percent of its equity, and also owns Newcastle United soccer club, told Sky News he will send a formal reply to the committee in due course.

A spokesman for Ashley could not be immediately reached for comment.

Sports Direct has rejected criticism that it effectively pays some staff at its main warehouse in Shirebrook, central England, below the legal minimum wage, and has ordered a review of working conditions there.

Parliament can in theory order a person's imprisonment for contempt, although its powers on such actions are untested in recent times, according to a government paper published in 2012.

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