HC Deb 29 January 1996 vol 270 cc636-7
11. Mr. Campbell-Savours

To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what plans he has to issue further regulation in respect of the activities of foreign companies operating in the United Kingdom. [9989]

Mr. Willetts

The Government have no plans for further regulation of foreign companies operating in the United Kingdom because we do not wish to jeopardise our record of attracting substantial overseas investment.

Mr. Campbell-Savours

The Minister will know of the appalling and entirely unregulated activities of Campbell Soups of America, including those in my constituency, where it shut down a perfectly profitable factory. The Minister will know also of the national boycott of Campbell Soups and Fray Bentos products. Will he join me in expressing the view that Safeway, Sainsbury and Tesco have a solution to the affair? If they say in the marketplace, to Campbell Soups, that enough is enough, it will be forced to reverse its decision.

Mr. Willetts

The hon. Gentleman's clarity and consistency on this matter is in striking contrast to the behaviour of Labour Members on most policy issues. As the hon. Gentleman will be aware, however, there was not a qualifying merger under fair trading legislation. There is, therefore, no basis on which the Government have any powers to intervene in what was a straightforward commercial decision.