BHS (3)

Former BHS owner, Sir Philip Green, has made a surprise call for the chair of the inquiry into the retailer's demise to resign because "he is clearly prejudiced".

Frank Field, chair of the Work and Pensions Committee, said he will recommend that Sir Philip be stripped of his knighthood if he refuses to return £571 million he received in dividends.

Speaking publicly for the first time since BHS went into administration, putting 11,000 jobs at risk, the billionaire said: "I am horrified that Frank Field is prepared to make comments like this in public."

He added: "Clearly he has already made his decision as to what he feels the punishment should be without even hearing any evidence from anybody about BHS or the circumstances of the last 15 years."

Sir Philip has agreed to appear before MPs on the Work and Pensions Committee and Business, Skills & Innovation Committee to answer questions over BHS' collapse. He also wrote to both committee chairs, calling for an end to his "trial by media".

In the letter, he wrote: "These statements [calling for knighthood to be stripped] suggest that you are leaping to conclusions before any evidence from any witness has been heard.

"They suggest that there will be no real attempt to run your inquiries in a fair way and that the outcome is pre-determined."

Earlier this week, business secretary Sajid Javid instructed the Insolvency Service to investigate immediately.

He said: "This investigation will look at the conduct of the directors at the time of insolvency and any individuals who were previously directors. Any issues of misconduct will be taken very seriously."

There are concerns that Retail Acquisitions - the company that bought BHS from Sir Philip Green last year for £1 - led by Dominic Chappell had very little retail experience, and was therefore not fit to run a struggling retail business.

Former Marks & Spencer chairman Lord Myners told the BBC: "The big question is whether when Philip Green sold BHS to a group of individuals with no retail experience, led by a former mini racing car driver and twice bankrupt person... that the pension scheme had enough assets to meet its liabilities."