Leading businesswoman Baroness Brady has been dragged into Sir Philip Green’s scandal as it emerged she is chairman of Taveta, the holding company of Sir Philip’s Arcadia retail group.
The Conservative peer, who is an outspoken defender of women’s rights in the workplace is said to have known for several months about a series of substantial payments made to employees making sexual and racial harassment claims.
Lady Brady, who is the Government’s small business adviser and BBC star, had been brought in to the company to clean up corporate governance amid the wake of the BHS pension scandal.
Baroness Brady has been dragged into Sir Philip Green’s scandal as it emerged she is chairman of Taveta, the holding company of Sir Philip’s Arcadia retail group
Lady Brady, the Government and the BBC have refused to comment on what she knew about the scandal and as of Friday night she remained chairman of Sir Philip’s company.
However, there are calls for her to appear before Parliament in the coming weeks to answer questions about what she knew about the payments and the use of non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) to silence employees in his company.
Sir Philip was this week named in Parliament as the businessman who had taken out an injunction against the media to stop it reporting allegations of sexual harassment and racial abuse against him and his attempt to gag former staff with NDAs.
It has been reported that he had paid staff members seven-figure sums to hush up allegations of sexual harassment and bullying.
Sources suggest Lady Brady knew for several months about a series of substantial payments made to employees making sexual and racial harassment claims against Sir Philip Green
If true, the payments would be some of the biggest recorded for sexual harassment.
These reports suggested that Sir Philip gave employees ‘lingering hugs’, asked them if they were ‘naughty girls’, whether they needed their ‘bottoms slapped’ and made comments about their weight.
At least seven cases where former staff members had received substantial payouts to settle complaints was also reported.
On Friday the Prime Minister’s spokesman said that his honour was under review as the forfeiture committee ‘are constantly reviewing evidence in relation to matters like this’.
Baroness Altmann, the Conservative peer and former pensions minister, says she was ‘bullied and intimidated’ by the businessman when he was being investigated by the pensions regulator over the BHS scandal. She says that when she was pensions minister under David Cameron, Sir Philip believed that ‘because we shared acquaintances outside of the business world, that I would break the rules for him’.
The potential role of Lady Brady has now been pulled into focus because of her position as chairman of Taveta.
Lady Brady, one of Britain’s most high profile businesswomen, is best known for her on the BBC programme The Apprentice with Lord Sugar
Sources close to Arcadia told The Telegraph that Lady Brady was regularly seen at the company’s offices in London.
Questions were raised by the source as to whether the peer had ever seen Sir Philip behave ‘inappropriately’ towards staff.
Lady Brady, one of Britain’s most high profile businesswomen, is best known for her on the BBC programme The Apprentice with Lord Sugar.
She was appointed as the government’s small business adviser in 2013.
Lady Brady has sat on the board of Taveta for eight years and became the organisation’s chairman in 2017. It is understood that she is closely involved with Arcadia because the firm is Taveta’s only asset.
Last night, Labour MPs called for her to answer questions about her involvement and appear before a parliamentary select committee.
There are calls for her to appear before Parliament in the coming weeks to answer questions about what she knew
Jess Phillips, the Labour MP and campaigner for women’s rights, said: ‘I do not know whether Baroness Brady has been kept completely in the dark about this, but she needs to come forward and say what she did and didn’t know and she needs to make sure that she has never backed the silencing of complainants.’
Tonia Antoniazzi, like Ms Phillips a member of the women and equalities committee, said: ‘If she has had oversight then she should stand down.’
John Mann, the campaigning Labour MP, said MPs on the House of Commons business, energy and industrial strategy committee should question both Lady Brady and Sir Philip about the agreements.
Mr Mann told The Telegraph: ‘I am sure the select committee will invite her in to see what has been going on. Green should be called in again and anyone else involved at a senior level.’
Campaigners on Friday promised to back legally and financially any women who wish to speak out about allegations of bullying and harassment at the hands of Sir Philip.
It has been reported that Sir Philip is staying at his home in Tucson, Arizona, within the grounds of a luxury health spa favoured by Hollywood celebrities.