HC Deb 30 April 1969 vol 782 cc1409-10
3. Mr. Michael Shaw

asked the President of the Board of Trade if he will give an undertaking to introduce legislation to reform company law during Session 1970–71.

The President of the Board of Trade (Mr. Anthony Crosland)

No, Sir. It is too early to say what legislation will or will not be possible during the 1970–71 Session.

Mr. Shaw

Does not the right hon. Gentleman recollect that a promise was solemnly given in the House and on several occasions upstairs in Standing Committee that during the lifetime of this Parliament another Companies Bill would be brought before the House, and that it was on that basis that we discussed the whole of the 1967 Bill? Is this another promise which is now about to be broken?

Mr. Crosland

I have no doubts that a Labour Government will be responsible for legislation in the 1970–71 Session—[Interruption.]—refreshed, no doubt, in the latter part of the year by a strong new mandate from the electors. Although it is true, as the hon. Member says, that hopes were expressed—I have not checked the language, but I accept the hon. Member's interpretation of what was said during what we call the part one Jenkins Bill—part two of Jenkins, as we have come to refer to it, is immensely long and complicated. Our system of passing legislation in this House is not, perhaps, as up-to-date and modern as it ought to be in all respects, and I cannot yet say what other claims may be made upon legislative time in the 1970–71 Session.