The intervention makes it illegal, outside Parliament or in reports of Parliamentary proceedings, to reveal the businessman’s identity or to identify the companies, as well as what he is accused of doing or how much he paid his alleged victims.

The tycoon has been the centre of an eight-month investigation by the Daily Telegraph.

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Although the press were gagged, MPs and peers are protected from being prosecuted over statements made in the Commons or Lords under Parliamentary privilege.

A guest at the now notorious President’s Club Dinner, he has previously questioned the MeToo movement, reportedly asking: “Where’s this all going to end? There’s no stag parties, no hen parties, no more girls parading in the ring at the boxing – so they’re all banned?”

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James Cleverly MP, deputy chairman of the Conservative Party, said Lord Hain's action had shown "people must now realise that injunctions and super-injunctions are nothing more than a good way to part with large sums of money and a bad way to keep things secret".      

The former leader of the House of Commons, told the Lords chamber on Thursday: “My Lords, having been contacted by someone intimately involved in the case of a powerful businessman using non-disclosure agreements and substantial payments to conceal the truth about serious and repeated sexual harassment, racist abuse and bullying, which is compulsively continuing, I feel it’s my duty under parliamentary privilege to name Philip Green as the individual in question given that the media have been subject to an injunction preventing publication of the full details of this story which is clearly in the public interest

"Arcadia and I take accusations and grievances from employees very seriously and in the event that one is raised, it is thoroughly investigated.

"Arcadia employs more than 20,000 people and in common with many large businesses sometimes receives formal complaints from employees.

But is Green merely greedy? Shah concludes not: he approvingly cites Clore’s biographer: “If there is one common trait in every entrepreneur it is that he’s a thoroughly insecure animal whose main drive is vanity and whose main passion is a worship for prestige.” Hence, perhaps, Green’s fetish for big yachts, which looks like compensation for some shortcoming, be it psychic or physical. Hence too his three-day 50th birthday party in Cyprus at which Tom Jones, Rod Stewart and Earth Wind and Fire performed and where he received gifts including a solid gold Monopoly game from Asprey, a red Ferrari Spider and a Harley Davidson with licence plate PG50. On the third day of those anniversary revels, togas were supplied to all – enabling Green to disport himself as Emperor Nero.

"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.

Sir Philip Green used to be known as the king of the High Street - but he was later branded the "unacceptable face of capitalism".

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Shah, the Sunday Times business editor, starts his book with Green threatening to chuck him out of the window, and recalls throughout how he menaced rivals with threats of visits from tasty geezers from south of the river. Only 299 pages later does Shah allow him to back-pedal on his threats. “If I had any boys in south London, they’d have been around to see you long before now,” Green tells Shah in one of their last conversations. Typical Green: all mouth and dodgy trousers.

After his statement was made in the chamber and broadcast on parliamentlive.tv, Lord Hain confirmed that his statement referred to the Topshop boss.

The business world also reacted to the claims. Carolyn Fairbairn, CBI Director-General, said: “Sexual harassment and racial abuse is illegal and has absolutely no place in modern Britain. Accusations this serious must be thoroughly and quickly investigated.”   

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In an interview with The Mail on Sunday, he described the past days as a “horror story” and “the worst week of my life”.

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Sir Philip Green has been named in Parliament as the businessman at the centre of Britain’s #MeToo scandal.

The Telegraph has spent the past eight months investigating allegations of bullying, intimidation and sexual harassment made against the businessman, and the lengths he has gone to to cover up the claims. However, on Tuesday this newspaper was prevented from revealing details of the non-disclosure deals by Sir Terence Etherton, the Master of the Rolls, the second most senior judge in England and Wales.

He later agreed a £363m cash settlement with the Pensions Regulator to plug the gap.

But Green’s scapegoating for me resembles how Harvey Weinstein sometimes gets treated as if he invented sexual predation, rather than being a particularly gaudy exponent of something to which patriarchal societies have long been prone. To name Green as the unacceptable face of capitalism, as a Commons report did two years ago, is to obscure the truth that ugliness is endemic to the system: short-termism and business predation did not start with Sir Philip – nor will they end with him.

Following Lord Hain’s comments there were calls for the billionaire to be stripped of his Knighthood and for a crackdown on the use of non-disclosure agreements by “serial offenders”.

But the Court of Appeal granted Sir Philip an injunction, preventing the paper from naming him.

Hashtags #MeToo and #Pinknotgreen started to trend on social media following the news about Sir Philip and the allegations.

BHS - the retail chain he sold in March 2015 for £1 - went into administration a year later, leaving a £571m hole in its pension fund.

Lord Hain's intervention came after Court of Appeal judges temporarily barred the Telegraph from publishing "confidential information" from five employees about a figure the newspaper described as a "leading businessman".

He and his wife Cristina are estimated by Forbes to be worth £3.8bn.

"In some cases these are settled with the agreement of all parties and their legal advisers. These settlements are confidential so I cannot comment further on them."

Maria Miller, chair of the Women and Equalities Committee, added: “I think that given the huge influence that Philip Green has in the business world and the thousands of people that work for him it is surprising that the Court of Appeal decided that it wasn’t in the public interest to make this more public.

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But Sir Philip has hit back at Lord Hain, and said the Labour peer failed to disclose his financial links to the law firm that represented the Daily Telegraph during the injunction.

He described Sir Philip's complaint as a "malevolent diversion".

“If anything I’ve said has caused offence, I’m happy to apologise. Nothing I’ve said was ever meant to be offensive.”

“I think Parliament’s proving its worth. The use of Parliament in this way is healthy and it shows democracy at work.”

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Writer Rachel Thompson wrote: “Topshop was my favourite shop when I was a teenage girl. I feel disgusted that this awful man has been literally dressing the women and girls of this nation for years. #pinknotgreen”

The Arcadia boss also said he would be “happy to apologise” if anything he had said had “caused offence” after being named as the leading businessman at the centre of Britain’s #MeToo scandal.