HC Deb 13 November 1967 vol 754 cc41-2W
Mr. Maddan

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he has completed his inquiry, instituted two months ago, into the leak of confidential information in advance of the publication of the Monopolies Commission report on the United Drapery Stores-Burton merger; and whether he will make a statement.

Mr. Crosland

I have had a thorough inquiry made into the alleged disclosure of confidential information about the proposed merger between United Drapery Stores Ltd. and Montague Burton Ltd. This included questioning all members of the Board of Trade and other Government Departments who were aware of the contents of the report and of my decision before publication. The Chairman of the Monopolies Commission has also carried out a thorough inquiry of all members and staff of the Commission who were aware of the contents of the report.

These inquiries have not established that there was a premature disclosure of information; nor have they shown that a person connected with either the Commission or a Government Department was in any way associated with a disclosure if one did occur.

My Department also approached all the newspapers whose reports might have led to the allegation that there was a leakage of official information but they were unable to assist. It would be contrary to journalistic practice for newspapers to confirm whether or not they did have access to advance information and, if so, its origin.

Unless I receive any further information which might give a lead about the source of any leak of confidential material I must regard the inquiry as completed.