§ Mr. Nellist
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster if he will make a statement on his recent meeting with Mr. Peter Sutherland concerning British Aerospace's takeover of the Rover Group.
§ Mr. Atkins
My right hon. and noble Friend the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry met Commissioner Sutherland on 5 July; this was the most recent in a series of discussions held since March on the state aid application related to the acquisition by British Aerospace of Her Majesty's Government's shareholding in Rover Group. It could be prejudicial to these discussions—which are at an advanced state—and to the interests of the companies to pre-empt their outcome. My right hon. and learned Friend the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster will inform the House when there is something conclusive to report.