§ Mr. Wallace
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what directions he has given regarding the disclosure of information relating to bids for trust ports; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. McLoughlin
My right hon. and learned Friend has made no such formal directions. However, officials of the Department wrote recently to the chairmen of those trust ports currently seeking privatisation asking them to delay making any public announcement of their board's recommendation as to the successful bidder for the port until my right hon. and learned Friend had had an opportunity of considering the recommendation and of deciding whether to give his consent. This was because my right hon. and learned Friend might not give his consent to a recommendation; and, if he did not, it would be misleading and unhelpful to the bidders for the board to have announced its recommendation publicly. The Department has not attempted to prevent bidders from making public information about their own bids.