HC Deb 05 February 1998 vol 305 c1217
11. Mr. Wilkinson

What discussions she has had with the European Union Commissioner, Mr. van Miert, about his investigations into the request by the formula one motor racing industry for exemption from regulations relating to EU competition law. [25695]

Mr. Nigel Griffiths

None; does the hon. Gentleman think that there should have been?

Mr. Wilkinson

What—or who—has induced the Government to be so indulgent towards blatantly anti-competitive practices in formula one motor sport? Is the Minister unaware that the position of the generous benefactor, Bernie Ecclestone, is highly invidious in as much as he sits on the board of the regulatory body—the HA—while running his own company, Formula One Holdings? Has not the European Commissioner, Mr. van Miert, said that the whole set up is layer upon layer of exclusive deals'? Only yesterday, in the Belgian Parliament, did not Mr. van Mien say that

Unlike national governments the European Commission would not bow to pressure from the sport'? Why are Ministers so indulgent and so ineffectual about such blatant malpractices?

Mr. Griffiths

I have not followed the proceedings of the Belgian Parliament as closely as the hon. Gentleman, but we support the full and fair application of European Community competition rules. The involvement of particular individuals does not affect our position?