§ Lord Mason of Barnsley
asked the Chairman of Committees:
What steps are being taken to ensure that petitioners appearing before Joint Committees on Special Procedure Orders reveal their identities and business details; and whether inquiries will be instituted to uncover the persons and businesses of RBNBC and RBNB who appeared before the Joint Committee on the Metropolitan Borough of Barnsley (Oakwell Regeneration Area) Compulsory Purchase Order.
§ The Chairman of Committees (Lord Boston of Faversham)
The identity of most petitioners appearing before Joint Committees on Special Procedure Orders is apparent from the petitions which they have presented. The ultimate identity of a petitioner who is a company, if it is a matter of concern to the committee to which the petition is referred, is a matter for the committee itself to enquire into.
RBNBC and RBNB are private unlimited companies and associated companies of FSK Nominees Limited, together with whom they lodged a petition against the Metropolitan Borough of Barnsley (Oakwell Regeneration Area) Compulsory Purchase Order 1994. The Joint Committee which considered the order made clear its wish to know the identity of the owners of the companies, but, rather than disclose those identities, the petitioners withdrew their petition, as they were entitled to do.
I have no authority to institute enquiries into the identities of the persons and businesses concerned. In its Special Report (HL Paper 50), the Joint Committee recommended that the Procedure Committees in both Houses examine the question whether a petitioner in parliamentary proceedings should, where it is a company, be able to conceal the identity of its beneficial owners. The Procedure Committee in another place is unable to do so, as its terms of reference relate only to public business. I shall see that the report is brought to the attention of the Procedure Committee of this House.