HC Deb 02 July 1979 vol 969 cc895-6
15. Mr. George Robertson

asked the Secretary of State for Trade if he is satisfied with the present status of insider dealing within the law: and if he intends to introduce legislation to outlaw it.

Mr. Eyre

I accept the need for legislation of this kind, provided that satisfactory answers can be found to the difficult problems of definition. I intend to cover insider dealing in the next companies Bill.

Mr. Robertson

In view of the fact that 24 Standing Committee sittings in the last Parliament were taken up in discussing this matter, ended only by the Dissolution of Parliament, and since there is a ready-made Bill covering these matters, why are the Government still running scared of a small element in the City of London who do not want the Government to take immediate action to outlaw this pernicious racket?

Mr. Eyre

The hon. Gentleman will realise when he examines the Standing Committee reports on that Bill that it was difficult to find a precise definition of "inside information". We are seeking to resolve that difficulty, and our proposals will be brought forward in the next companies Bill.

Mr. Clinton Davis

Is not the Minister aware that the proposals on insider dealing put forward by the Labour Government met with widespread approval? May I inform him that it is the Opposition's intention to suggest the inclusion of these proposals in the current legislation in order to remedy this evil?

Mr. Eyre

The difficulty relates not to the principle but to the creation of a precise and accurate definition. It is to that point that our energies are devoted.

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