The Phoenix Four have been criticised by Northfield MP Richard Burden and ex-workers for ‘feathering their nests’ after MG Rover’s former auditors were hit by a demand for £1.75 million.

The four former Longbridge bosses – John Towers, Peter Beale, Nick Stephenson and John Edwards – found themselves in the firing line again over eight years after MG Rover closed.

Mr Burden and the Justice for Rover Workers group rounded on the Four after former auditors Deloitte lost a challenge against a ruling by the Financial Reporting Council that they had failed to consider the public interest over advice to the Longbridge directors.

Richard Burden said: “No doubt, the Phoenix Four would like to be remembered for keeping MG Rover in business for five years from 2000-2005, and for so nearly pulling off a deal that could have saved the company.

Richard Burden
Richard Burden
 

“Instead, they will be remembered for the way they structured the companies they controlled, for featherbedding their own futures whilst leaving their employees so utterly exposed.”

Meanwhile, Oliver Thomas of Justice for Rover Workers, said: “For me the judgement by the FRC confirms the fears of the ex MG Rover workers that this whole saga was a tangled web, which saw a handful of individuals become very rich while thousands of workers lost their jobs.

“In 2000, tens of thousands of people marched the streets of Birmingham campaigning for the Phoenix Four to take over the company from BMW, believing they had the company’s interests at heart.

"It is clear now that their interests were in fact to make themselves millions through clever accounting and we hear that Deloitte helped them to do that.”

A source close to the Phoenix Four said: “People are commenting with a level of several years of blurred history.

"Had the previous Labour Government not torpedoed the Shanghai Automotive negotiations, the directors would be seen as heroes.”