Mike Ashley may think he can trample everybody in his path but he is finding one group of people a tough challenge to shake off.
Treating Newcastle and Rangers fans with contempt, as well as most of his staff, Mike Ashley seems to have met his match with the House of Commons.
Having already played them for fools by refusing to previously appear in front of a select committee to answer questions about the running of his retail empire, Ashley has now been given a final ultimatum.
The London Evening Standard report that Mike Ashley has been warned that he risks being held in contempt of the House of Commons should he fail to appear before the Business, Innovation and Skills Select Committee by 1 June 2016.
The Newcastle United owner has been given numerous potential dates by the committee but hasn’t as yet even agreed ‘in principle to attend’.
This looks one situation where no amount of spin will help get Mike Ashley off the hook.
Last week, the Chair of that Select Committee, Iain Wright MP, sent the following to Mike Ashley:
“A number of alternative dates have been offered to you by the Committee Clerk, but as yet you have not accepted any of them, nor agreed in principle to attend.
“As you will be aware, select committees do not normally need to have recourse to our formal powers to summon witnesses in order to secure attendance; refusal to attend without good reason may be considered a contempt of the House.
“Should you fail in your reply to agree to attend on one of the dates offered to you, or a mutually convenient alternative before 1 June, the Committee reserves the right to take the matter further, including seeking the support of the House of Commons in respect of any complaint of contempt.”
With the Sports Direct share price in freefall and flak flying from all sides about the shocking way the workers are treated, in December Mike Ashley stated that he would personally oversee a review of the treatment of agency workers at his Shirebrook HQ.
The Business, Innovation and Skills Select Committee have said in their letter that they want information on the scope, progress and timetable of that review.