Sir Philip Green and his business empire Arcadia have ended their legal claim against The Daily Telegraph, which reported allegations of sexual and racial harassment against him.
Court of Appeal judges temporarily barred the newspaper from identifying the Topshop tycoon or revealing “confidential information” relating to allegations of misconduct made by five employees.
But former Cabinet minister Lord Hain named Sir Philip in the House of Lords two days after the court’s ruling in October, resulting in the widespread reporting of the allegations.
After having pursued legal action against The Telegraph, Arcadia said on Monday: “After careful reflection, Arcadia and Sir Philip have therefore reluctantly concluded that it is pointless to continue with the litigation which has already been undermined by the deliberate and irresponsible actions of Lord Peter Hain, the paid consultant of the Telegraph’s lawyers Gordon Dadds, and risks causing further distress to the Arcadia’s employees.
“Consequently, Arcadia and Sir Philip will be seeking the court’s permission to discontinue these proceedings on Monday.”
Nevertheless, Arcadia accused the Telegraph of conducting a campaign to “knowingly facilitate the breach” of confidentiality agreements, exposing individuals who signed them and causing “untold disruption” to 20,000 Arcadia staff.
“The Telegraph has repeatedly contacted and harassed staff and former staff of Arcadia and BHS. Its reporters have doorstepped many individuals, often at night, causing distress and concern to their families, even as recently as last weekend,” Arcadia said.
“Arcadia and Sir Philip want to protect those staff and former staff from further intrusive approaches. A complaint about this behaviour has been made to IPSO (the Independent Press Standards Organisation).”
Lord Hain said the announcement amounted to “a vindication of my parliamentary intervention”.
He added: “I complied fully with parliamentary rules as my source was nobody in or connected with Gordon Dadds. It is a lie to suggest otherwise”
The Labour peer said: “Parliamentary privilege has always been resented by the rich and powerful when it is used, as I did in this case, to defend human rights and justice when under attack.
“It is of fundamental constitutional importance as the only absolute right to free speech cemented in our law.”
Images: Press Association