Grant Shapps urges boss Peter Hebblethwaite to resign after admitting the firm broke the law

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has called on the head of P&O Ferries to resign after admitting that the company deliberately broke the law in the way it fired 800 workers.

Mr Shapps saysd Peter Hebblethwaites proofs to MPs yesterday was “cheeky and breathtaking” and said the government is willing to change the law after a loophole was “exploited” to fire the workers.

The company would be forced to do P&O Ferries pays the minimum wage to workers under the new law, Mr Shapps said.

Shapps said: “I thought what the head of P&O said yesterday about deliberately breaking the law was cheeky, breathtaking and showed incredible arrogance.

“I can not believe he can stay in the role of having admitted to having deliberately gone out and using a loophole will break the law, but also use a loophole.”

P&O Ferries had flown their ships through Cyprus, which “avoided having to tell anyone” and had tried to “pay people in such a way to buy people’s silence”, Mr Shapps said.

Shapps said the new measures would be announced in parliament next week.

“I think what has happened is completely shameful. And we intend to make sure that not only that route is blocked, but in fact also P&O will have to un-switch all this,” he said.

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