HC Deb 19 June 1996 vol 279 c872
17. Mr. Chisholm

To ask the President of the Board of Trade what recent representations he has received regarding the ownership of the electricity and water companies. [32126]

Mr. Eggar

I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave earlier to the hon. Member for Pendle (Mr. Prentice).

Mr. Chisholm

The Minister made no attempt to answer earlier questions on the subject—perhaps because of his disagreements with the President of the Board of Trade. Will the hon. Gentleman lay down even one principle in place of the confusion and chaos that currently typify Government policy? Will he acknowledge that consumer interests should take precedence over takeover and dividend mania? Will he be more ready in future to refer bids to the Monopolies and Mergers Commission?

Mr. Eggar

I agree with the hon. Member for East Kilbride (Mr. Ingram), who is all in favour of competition. I detect from the questions of the hon. Members for Edinburgh, Leith (Mr. Chisholm) and for Pendle that they do not entirely agree with the hon. Member for East Kilbride.