Ashley Question In House Of Commons!

Last updated : 24 January 2015 By Footy Mad - Editor

... Rangers and other clubs after he was accused of deplorable behaviour over his treatment of workers at his collapsed clothing firm.

Central Ayrshire MP Brian Donohoe says he will use parliamentary privilege to question the credentials of the billionaire Newcastle United owner to run top flight sides.

Business Minister Fergus Ewing has already expressed "extreme concern and disappointment" at the conduct of Mr Ashley's Sports Direct, which owns USC, after it went into administration this month with the loss of 88 jobs in Dundonald, South Ayrshire.

He appointed ex-Rangers oldco administrators Duff and Phelps for USC at the High Court.

In November, three members of the firm, Paul Clark, David Whitehouse and David Grier, were detained during dawn raids across the UK and were later arrested as police probed events surrounding Craig Whyte's takeover of Rangers in 2011.

Mr Donohole says that USC staff were given no advance warning when they were made redundant just after Christmas. The employees say that none of them has been offered redundancy pay and some are owed wages dating back to mid-December.

USC went into administration but it has now been confirmed that another of Mr Ashley's subsidiaries, Republic, has bought the business from the administrators.

Mr Donohoe said: "We have to ask if Mike Ashley's conduct is befitting of a powerful businessman who already owns one national sports institution and is reported to be bidding behind the scenes to take over another.

"He has lavished millions of pounds on football yet won't play fair with a group of workers who are not asking for much but whose efforts will have in some way contributed to his vast personal wealth.

"Football is big business with a high public profile and these two clubs in particular have immense support either side of the border. Despite all this, Ashley has managed to make an art of hiding out the road and nowhere was this been more obvious than when concerns were first expressed about the jobs at Dundonald.

"There hasn't been a cheep from him or any of the senior figures at Sports Direct.

"This behaviour is deplorable and calls in to question whether Mike Ashley is a fit and proper person to own a football club under SFA rules. His workers have been treated with total disregard."

The Scottish Government made a series of urgent but unsuccessful attempts to contact bosses and offer help to the employees.

Sports Direct representatives also said to have refused to return phone calls from the highest levels of the Scottish Government. Despite Mr Ewing writing to Mr Ashley and requesting an immediate response, he only received an acknowledgement of his letter.

The entrepreneur, who also owns Newcastle United, this week pocketed £117m after selling a 2.6 per cent stake in Sports Direct.

According to Forbes magazine, Ashley, who owns just under 8.9 per cent of Rangers shares but wields a massive amount of power at the club, is worth £3.3billion making him the 293rd richest person in the world.

A motion has been lodged at the Scottish Parliament by local Adam Ingram MSP which condemns the actions of Mr Ashley and calls on him to ensure employees are paid what they are owed has so far attracted support from 26 other MSPs.

Neither Mr Ashley or Sports Direct were available for comment.