Embattled Topshop boss Sir Philip Green allegedly grabbed women’s breasts, slapped their bottoms and grabbed their thighs, a peer has claimed.

Hundreds of grievance cases against the retail tycoon were raised by staff, the House of Lords was told yesterday.

In remarkable scenes, the allegations were revealed at Westminster by Lord Hain, who last year used the cloak of parliamentary privilege to identify the Topshop boss as the person behind a legal injunction preventing the Daily Telegraph from publishing allegations of sexual harassment and racial abuse.

Sir Philip previously “categorically and wholly” denied the claims.

Responding to Lord Hain’s latest claims, he said: “How sad somebody who already has proven they’re prepared to abuse the system wants to continue to behave in this manner.”

Lord Hain said he was revealing the account of an alleged victim for the first time as he defended the use of parliamentary privilege.

Speaking during a debate in the Lords, Lord Hain said he had originally named the businessman “for moral reasons and was not second-guessing or criticising the judiciary”.

He said: “To explain why, I am revealing for the first time in public exactly what one of Sir Philip Green’s victims told me whilst pleading with me to name him under parliamentary privilege.

“I quote: ‘He was touching and repeatedly slapping women staff’s bottoms, grabbing thighs and touching legs.

“‘Hundreds of grievance cases were raised with HR. The company lawyer who interviewed me then lied. Sir Philip screamed and shouted at staff to go to psychologists.

“‘Victims went to an employment tribunal but were told it would not get anywhere so settled with an NDA (non-disclosure agreement).

“‘Some were worn down with spiralling legal costs costing them a fortune. He broke some in the end. It was horrible ... He is still doing exactly the same thing. It is rife, it happened all the time. I saw him grab the breasts of others. This has gone on for a long time’.”

Lord Hain pointed out that after he named Sir Philip, a number of former employees and executives made similar allegations in the newspapers.

He told peers: “My motive was to stand up for ordinary employees against a very powerful and wealthy boss who, as described to me, seemed to think he was above the rules of decent, respectful behaviour.”

He also said he was acting against the misuse of NDAs which Sir Philip “deployed to suppress victims from obtaining redress – as did Harvey Weinstein to silence his sexual harassment victims, as did organisers of the Presidents Club dinner in January 2018, when 130 women were required to sign NDAs in a bid to stop any details of harassment, groping and propositioning going public”.

He argued that parliamentary privilege is “a fundamental part of our constitution and is the only absolute free speech right entrenched in the law”.

Lord Hain said the prospect of it being used “should be a deterrent to anyone minded to seek a secrecy order from the courts to cover up allegations of misconduct as in the Philip Green case”.

The veteran politician was criticised at the time for naming Sir Philip, as some lawyers and legal experts said it was an abuse of parliamentary privilege, although he was backed by many MPs.

But Lord Hain pointed out there had been “similar outrage from the legal establishment” when it was used to name notorious spy Kim Philby.

He acknowledged it “should be used responsibly, sparingly and only when absolutely necessary”.

Lady Deech, an independent crossbench peer, said members had to exercise self-discipline and remind themselves of the important role played by judicial independence and parliamentary privilege.

If they failed the punishment was not contempt of court but forfeiting trust, she said.