§ 10. Mr. Rooker
asked the Secretary of State for Trade if he will publish a White Paper on his proposals for company law reform.
§ Mr. Rooker
Will the Minister give an assurance that, when the White Paper is published, it will take into account the Government's proposals to clear up the mess as outlined in the Keyser Ullmann report of last week? Will he also explain why the report lay in the Department for six months and was not published until just after the election? Will the report attempt to explain how the Government will deal with the unacceptable and incompetent face of capitalism as typified by the business activities of the right hon. Member for Taunton (Mr. du Cann)?
§ Mr. Eyre
I emphasise that the investigations related primarily to the affairs of Dowgate and CST Ltd. The actions of Keyser Ullmann Ltd. are referred to in the report, but it is the responsibility of lenders to satisfy themselves as to the worth of any guarantee that they take. The hon. Gentleman referred to my right hon. Friend the Member for Taunton (Mr. du Cann). He is well able to speak for himself in the manner and at the time that he chooses.
§ Sir Derek Walker-Smith
My hon. Friend mentioned the fourth directive on company accounts in the context of the reference to possible company law reform. Will the Government publish a White Paper showing their thinking on a fifth directive in regard to company structure and employee participation?
§ Mr. Kilroy-Silk
Is it not the case that the spivery, the property speculation, the asset stripping and the fraud that we have seen in the Keyser Ullmann report is always a feature of Conservative Governments and will be a feature of this one, as it was of the previous Conservative Administration? Is it not true that the lessons that the Government will have learned will be applied to the asset stripping of the nationalised industries? No doubt. Christopher Selmes will join the Conservative Front Bench or the Conservative policy unit to carry out the same sort of fraud, trickery and spivery that was demonstrated in the report.
§ Mr. Eyre
The Dowgate report is the latest in a series of inspectors' reports which have pointed to the need for reform in certain areas of company law. I have made clear the review which is being undertaken with regard to certain aspects of the law, and also the consideration which is being given to possible amendment of the law. All that the hon. Gentleman has done is to demonstrate his political prejudices by the remarkable ignorance of his remarks.
§ Mr. Clinton Davis
Is it not outrageous that the Minister should have announced today that his proposals for dealing with the abuses of insider dealing and lending to directors are to be deferred until 1980, when there is a readymade Bill, which the Conservatives when in opposition said that they welcomed, to deal with those abuses?
§ Mr. Eyre
I must emphasise that the Bill dealing with the implementation of the EEC second directive will be ready rapidly for introduction in June. I said earlier that I am looking again at the insider dealing and other non-EEC provisions of the previous Government's Bill before deciding on the scope and form of the Bill to which I have referred, which will be introduced early in 1980. If time permits, we shall bring forward a White Paper dealing with those proposals.