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Labour peer Lord Hain denies law firm role led him to name Sir Philip Green

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The former Labour cabinet minister who named Sir Philip Green in parliament “did not obtain any information” from the law firm fighting the billionaire’s injunction against a national newspaper.

Lord Hain used parliamentary privilege on Thursday to identify Sir Philip as the businessman behind a court order against the Daily Telegraph.

The Labour peer named the Arcadia Group owner as the “powerful businessman” in a case involving the use of “non-disclosure agreements and substantial payments to conceal the truth about serious and repeated sexual harassment, racist abuse and bullying”.

Sir Philip “categorically and wholly” denies allegations of unlawful sexual or racist behaviour.

It has since emerged Lord Hain is listed as a global and government adviser on the website of legal firm Gordon Dadds.

They are the company who represented the Daily Telegraph in attempting to fight the Court of Appeal injunction earlier this week.

The position is also listed as among Lord Hain’s interests in the House of Lords register.

However, Gordon Dadds have stated Lord Hain did not learn of Sir Philip’s involvement in the case due to his advisory role with the firm.

Lord Hain is listed as an adviser on the website of Gordon Dadds
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Lord Hain is listed as an adviser on the website of Gordon Dadds

The firm said in a statement: “Peter Hain is a self-employed consultant who provides occasional advice to Gordon Dadds LLP relating principally to African affairs.

“Any suggestion that the firm has in any way acted improperly is entirely false.

“Peter Hain did not obtain any information from Gordon Dadds regarding this case, including any information which would enable him to identify Philip Green as having any involvement in it.

“He has not had any involvement at all in this case, nor in any of our work for The Telegraph newspapers.”

Lord Hain also denied his work for Gordon Dadds led him to name Sir Philip in the House of Lords.

He said: “I took the decision to name Sir Philip Green in my personal capacity as an independent member of the House Of Lords.

“I categorically state that I was completely unaware Gordon Dadds were advising the Telegraph regarding this case.

“Gordon Dadds, a highly-respected and reputable international law firm, played absolutely no part whatsoever in either the sourcing of my information or my independent decision to name Sir Philip.

“They were completely unaware of my intentions until after I spoke in the House of Lords.”

Lord Hain did not mention his position with Gordon Dadds before naming Sir Philip in the House of Lords, during which he told peers he had been “contacted by someone intimately involved in the case”.

This is despite House of Lords’ rules of conduct stating peers should “declare when speaking in the House, or communicating with ministers or public servants, any interest which is a relevant interest in the context of the debate or the matter under discussion”.

Sir Philip Green
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Sir Philip denies allegations of unlawful sexual or racist behaviour

Parliamentary privilege grants certain legal immunities for members of both the House of Commons and House of Lords.

It is in place to ensure MPs and peers can go about their work without fear of being sued or prosecuted for contempt of court.

However, Lord Hain has been criticised for using the legal protection to identify Sir Philip.

Former attorney general and Conservative MP Dominic Grieve QC told Sky News that Lord Hain’s behaviour had been “breathtakingly arrogant” and he had abused parliamentary privilege in deciding he knew better than the courts.

“What is the business of a member of parliament or lords to effectively destroy an individual’s legal rights, to circumvent an injunction that had been granted because they considered it on a personal basis they knew the answer and knew better,” he said.

“If that becomes habit then effectively the rule will have been destroyed.

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“It’s a form of tyranny – it’s the very thing Peter Hain when he was in South Africa was complaining about. He is using power to undermine somebody else’s legal right without any proper reason at all.”

Earlier on Friday, Theresa May refused to be drawn on calls for Sir Philip to be stripped of his knighthood if allegations of sexual harassment, racist abuse and bullying are true.

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