HC Deb 29 June 1943 vol 390 cc1461-3
37. Major Sir Jocelyn Lucas

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he can now make any further statement on the amendment of company law?

Mr. Dalton

Yes, Sir. I have appointed a Committee with the following terms of reference:— To consider and report what major amendments are desirable in the Companies Act, 1929, and, in particular, to review the requirements prescribed in regard to the formation and affairs of companies and the safeguards afforded for investors and for the public interest. I am glad to say that Mr. Justice Cohen has consented to act as Chairman. The other members of the Committee are:

  • Mr. B. G. Catterns,
  • Mr. Arthur fforde,
  • Mr. M. L. Gedge,
  • Professor Arthur Goodhart,
  • Mr. Geoffrey Heyworth,
  • Sir Edward Hodgson,
  • Mr. Russell Kettle,
  • The hon. and gallant Member for Brentford and Chiswick (Colonel H. Mitchell),
  • Mr. G. W. Thomson,
  • Mr. L. H. Watson,
  • Mr. R. P. Wilkinson, and
  • The hon. Member for Kennington (Mr. John Wilmot).

Sir J. Lucas

While thanking my right hon. Friend for his satisfactory reply, may I inquire whether the Committee will deal with the undesirable feature of nominee shareholders?

Mr. Dalton

I have no doubt, following on a conversation I have had with Mr. Justice Cohen, that nominee shareholdings and the possibility of their abuse will be one of the matters the Committee will go carefully into. My hon. and gallant Friend has taken a great interest in this matter, and I hope he will put his knowledge at the disposal of the Committee. They will be very glad to have it.

Mr. Bellenger

Is not the hon. Member for Kennington (Mr. Wilmot) the Parliamentary Private Secretary to my right hon. Friend, and is it not the custom in this House that hon. Members intimately concerned with the Department should not take part in such committees as this?

Mr. Dalton

No, Sir. The position of Parliamentary Private Secretaries has frequently been defined in answers to Questions. They are certainly not precluded from a form of public service in which their special knowledge will be of value. In fact, there is a recent precedent for this in the valuable service rendered by my hon. Friend the Member for Batley and Morley (Mr. Hubert Beationont) on the Luxmoore Committee with regard to agricultural education. It is not desirable that hon. Members outside the Government should be debarred from giving the fullest service to the public interest in this way.

Sir A. Southby

Are they outside the Government?

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