Agency to support ex-Rover directors

The former MG Rover directors accused of the firm's collapse have brought in PR agency support as a government inquiry into the episode reaches its conclusion.

Rover: jobs lost when firm collapsed
Rover: jobs lost when firm collapsed

The so-called ‘Phoenix Four' have turned to Media House International, which is run by ex- journalists from the Daily Mail and Daily Mirror.

The Phoenix Four were the owners of Phoenix Venture Holdings, which acqui­red Rover from BMW for a mere £10 back in 2000. The car giant went into administration five years later and thousands of jobs were lost.

John Towers, Peter Beale, John Edwards and Nick Stephenson were roundly criticised in 2005, when it was alleged that they had taken nearly £40m out of the ­company. A draft of the ­government report into the saga is expected to be ­released in May.

Media House has been hired ahead of the publication of the report into the ­affair, which saw 6,000 workers lose their jobs.

Media House has been briefed to highlight the role played by senior Labour politicians in MG Rover's closure. The agency won the account following a competitive pitch. It will target nat­ional media, Midlands media and MPs to raise awareness of the case.

‘Our preliminary inquiries suggest the Phoenix Four were convenient scapegoats at the time, but we are determined to examine the roles Gordon Brown and former trade and industry secretary Patricia Hewitt and their ­advisers played in the run-up to the closure,' said Media International executive chairman Jack Irvine, a former Mirror Group journalist.

Media House executive ­director and former Daily Mail journalist Ramsay Smith added: ‘It is odd that Gordon Brown is happy to throw billions at Northern Rock, yet as far as we know he was the one who, against Blair's and Hewitt's wishes, killed MG Rover's survival plan dead.'

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