HC Deb 15 December 1975 vol 902 cc955-6
17. Mr. Skinner

asked the Secretary of State for Trade when he expects the report on London and County to be published.

Mr. Clinton Davis

We are unable to say when we expect to be in a position to publish the inspectors' report in this matter, but it will be as soon as possible.

Mr. Skinner

Will my hon. Friend be a little more forthcoming on the question whether or not the investigators have taken into account the way in which the Crown Agents, acting for another Government Department, lent money to London and County Securities Ltd., especially taking account of the fact that parliamentary advisers, in the shape of the leader of the Liberal Party, were in a position to advise that the law was being broken by the lending of such money in violation of the Moneylenders Acts? Will he give me an assurance—

Mr. Speaker

Order. That appears to me to be a reflection on a right hon. Member. That can be done only by a motion.

Mr. Skinner

I might get around to that one day.

Will my hon. Friend assure me that this report is not being held up in any way because the Prime Minister has occasioned the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and possibly Lord Goodman to rewrite it before it comes out, as they seem to be doing in the case of most other Government Department matters?

Mr. Davis

I must repudiate wholly the allegations made by my hon. Friend—

Mr. Skinner

It happens everywhere else.

Mr. Davis

It would, of course, be quite improper of me to comment on the report in part. Indeed, it would be not only improper but contrary to the legislation that covers these matters. As I have told my hon. Friend, we shall publish the report at the earliest opportunity, but there are very good reasons at present for not doing so.

Mr. Cyril Smith

Will the Minister give us an idea of what he means by "the earliest opportunity"? Is he aware that many of us have been waiting for this report for a considerable time—

Mr. Pardoe

Hear, hear.

Mr. Smith

—and would strongly support the request of the hon. Member for Bolsover (Mr. Skinner) that it be published early? Is he also aware that some of us are tired of the sick innuendoes that are constantly made by the hon. Member for Bolsover about this report, and that many of us have good reason to believe that if the report were published quickly those innuendoes would be proved to be baseless?

Mr. Davis

The hon. Gentleman has not hidden his naked ambitions very well. "As soon as possible" means precisely that.

Mr. Pardoe

You have had it for months now. Get on with it. Do your job.

Mr. Davis

The great desperation of certain Members of the Liberal Party is certainly a revelation to the House.

Back to
Forward to