HC Deb 02 December 1992 vol 215 c255
7. Mr. Heppell

To ask the President of the Board of Trade how many trade missions to Iraq have been authorised by his Department involving Nottinghamshire chamber of commerce in each year since 1984.

The President of the Board of Trade and Secretary of State for Trade and Industry (Mr. Michael Heseltine)

There were two in 1984, one in 1985, two in 1986, one in 1988, one in 1989, and two in 1990.

Mr. Heppell

Is the President of the Board of Trade aware that one of the authorised participants in the mission in 1989 was Sheffield Forgemasters, which was clearly against the 1988 guidelines, the 1985 guidelines and any other guidelines that the President may feel are in fashion at the moment? If there was no ministerial approval, will the right hon. Gentleman take action against senior DTI officials for breaching the Government guidelines, or will he turn a blind eye, as he and three other Ministers did in the past, to innocent business men who were set up, fitted up, in British courts?

Mr. Heseltine

I do not see the gain involved for the hon. Gentleman in peddling a totally dishonest interpretation of what happened, presumably in an attempt to get some cheap publicity in his constituency.

The issues that the hon. Gentleman raised will be fully examined by Lord Justice Scott, and I look forward to the report.