05:53, October 27 89 0 theguardian.com

2018-10-27 05:53:11
Hain will 'neither retract nor apologise' for naming Philip Green

The Labour peer who named Sir Philip Green as the businessman accused of bullying and sexual harassment has said he will “neither retract nor apologise for standing up for human rights”, after facing criticism for outing the retail mogul.

Peter Hain, the former cabinet minister who used the legal protections of the House of Lords to name Green on Thursday, said he respected the opinion of lawyers who disagreed with his intervention.

However, he said he stood by his decision to name the retail tycoon, who had secured an injunction preventing details of the case from being revealed.

“I stand resolutely by what I’ve said and neither retract nor apologise for standing up for human rights,” he said.

Hain told the Observer he did not take the decision lightly and defended his right to use parliamentary privilege to support “justice and liberty”.

It comes after Green said it was “outrageous” for Hain to name him, saying he would lodge a formal complaint with the House of Lords.

The businessman also criticised Hain for not revealing his links to the law firm that had been working with the Telegraph in its battle to name Green.

Green repeated that “to the extent that it is suggested that I have been guilty of unlawful sexual or racist behaviour, I categorically and wholly deny these allegations”.

Hain said had only used parliamentary privilege three times in a parliamentary career spanning almost 30 years and said he only did so after “deep consideration”.

“Parliamentary privilege is a precious part of our constitution and an expression of parliament’s absolute sovereignty, but it should only ever be used sparingly, with total integrity and responsibility,” he said. “It is not something that one should ever abuse and it should never be used randomly.

“On this occasion, I took a judgment, which others will, in turn, assess as being right or wrong and I respect that. I respect the view of lawyers who criticise it, though others have supported it.

“I have no quarrel with the appeals court or with any members of the judiciary on this point. They have a job to do, but so do parliamentarians. What is the point of being a member of parliament, either in the Commons or in the Lords, if you don’t discharge your responsibilities and, where appropriate, use the privileges that you have in order to promote justice and liberty?”

Former attorney general Dominic Grieve is among those to criticise Hain’s move, claiming the former Labour cabinet minister had abused parliamentary privilege and acted arrogantly.

It has also emerged that Hain was a paid adviser to Gordon Dadds, the law firm instructed by the Telegraph in its attempts to name Green. Hain has said he took the decision to name 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.”

A spokesman for Gordon Dadds denied “any suggestion that Gordon Dadds LLP has in any way acted improperly”.

Hain told the Observer that he had previously used parliamentary privilege to name arms dealers while a minister and later used it in the House of Lords to name companies with alleged links to former South African president Jacob Zuma.

“I used parliamentary privilege to name a dozen arms dealers who were flying in arms to Sierra Leone, some of which were turned on British soldiers trying to defeat the terrorist group there,” he said.

“Arms were also being sent to Angola, fuelling a bloody and traumatic civil war, and to the Congo, where they were also being used to promote conflict. These arms dealers were being paid in illegal diamonds.

“On the second occasion, I was passed information by very brave whistleblowers to whom I was introduced by ANC stalwarts horrified by what was going on under President Zuma’s corrupt presidency.

“So that is three times during my time as a parliamentarian, dating back to 1991. So it is not something i have ever done lightly. The first two cases were clear cut, though it hadn’t been done before. And on this third occasion, obviously I did not do this lightly, either. It was after deep consideration.”

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