MPs have voted in favour of a motion recommending Sir Philip Green be stripped of his knighthood, following a three-hour debate.
The vote, by MPs from all parties, does not mean that he will automatically lose the title, but it will put pressure on the honours forfeiture committee, which awarded him with it in 2006, to consider revoking it.
During the debate in the House of Commons, Green was heavily criticised and labelled a "billionaire spiv who should never have received a knighthood" and "who has shamed British capitalism" by Labour MP David Winnick.
Frank Field, chair of the pension committee, which ran a joint inquiry into the collapse of retailer BHS with the business select committee, called the closure of the retailer a "Greek tragedy". He also called Green an "asset stripper" and compared him to Napoleon.
Iain Wright, chair of the business select committee, accused Green of "raiding" the company, which was sold with a £570 million pension deficit, and having "engorged on BHS" before it was sold to three-time bankrupt Dominic Chappell, a former racing driver, for £1.
Wright was deeply critical of the "weak corporate governance" on the board of BHS, and accused Green of having acted as though BHS was a "personal fiefdom and personal piggy bank".
In earlier statements, Green hit back at comments made by MPs, including Frank Field. He said last month that he was working closely with the Pensions Regulator to find a solution to the deficit. He also said any suggestion that there “was a lack of willingness on my part to reach a settlement with regard to the pension fund” was “untrue, totally inaccurate and unhelpful”. He also extended an apology to “all the BHS people involved in this sorry affair”.
The collapse of BHS concluded a year after Green sold the business to Dominic Chappell, a former racing driver with no retail experience. It led to the loss of 11,000 jobs and to all stores being closed from the high street.
Wright said Green "took the rings from BHS’s fingers. He beat it black and blue. He starved it of food and water and put it on life support ... and then he wanted credit for keeping it alive."
The collapse of the business also left the future of 20,000 pensioners hanging in the balance. MPs have repeatedly called on Green to pay for the deficit, but there has reportedly been no firm deal made.
The billionaire retail tycoon was condemned by a critical parliamentary report in July that accused him of enriching himself and his family at the expense of the collapsed department store.
Sara Spary is a consumer business correspondent for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.
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