Mr. John M. Taylor
To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will make a statement on the bid by a US company for Lucas Varity and its potential effects on the West Midlands. 
§ Dr. Howells
[holding answer 1 February 1999]: In the first instance it would be necessary to determine whether any proposed acquisition fell for consideration by the 585W European Commission under the EC Merger Regulation, or by the UK authorities under the Fair Trading Act 1973. If a proposed acquisition fell to the EC Merger Regulation, it would be for the parties to notify it to the European Commission. If it fell to the UK authorities, my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry would decide whether or not to refer it to the Monopolies and Mergers Commission in the light of the advice of the Director General of Fair Trading. Each case is considered on its own merits.