Birmingham & Black Country

MG Rover Phoenix Four: Steve McCabe MP criticises ban

The MG Rover car factory sign is pictured in Longbridge, Birmingham
Image caption Phoenix Venture Holding bosses bought MG Rover for £10 and shared £40m in pay and pensions

The disqualification of the former bosses of MG Rover as company directors will have "no effect", a Birmingham Labour MP has said.

Peter Beale, Nick Stephenson, John Edwards and John Towers - known as the Phoenix Four - have voluntarily agreed a ban for between three and six years.

It follows an investigation into MG Rover's 2005 collapse by the Insolvency Service.

Steve McCabe, Selly Oak MP, said the men had had no plans to be directors.

He said: "I am not sure it makes any sort of difference.

"Their own spokesman has come out and said they had no intention of being company directors for the duration of the ban so obviously it will have no effect at all. It's just words."

'Showed contempt'

The Department of Business, Innovation and Skills said the disqualification followed a "lengthy and complex" investigation.

Business Secretary Vince Cable said: "It will send the right signal that if you behave in a very irresponsible way, showing such contempt for the work force and manipulate the finance in such a way that you enrich yourself at a time when the work force is suffering, that there will be penalties."

The former directors of Phoenix Venture Holdings Ltd purchased MG Rover, in Longbridge, Birmingham, for £10 in 2000.

Five years later MG Rover collapsed with debts of £1.3bn, resulting in 6,000 staff being made redundant.

It later emerged the Phoenix Four had paid themselves £40m in pay and pensions. All four men have consistently denied any wrong doing.

After analysing the circumstances of the collapse, the Serious Fraud Office said in August 2009 it would not conduct a criminal investigation.

On Sunday it was revealed the four had agreed to a voluntary directorship ban for up to six years as suggested by the Insolvency Service.

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