Mr Redwood’s intervention during the Statement on AstraZeneca (Pfizer Bid), 6 May 2014

Mr John Redwood (Wokingham) (Con): I would like the Secretary of State to clarify the legal position, because it seems to me that, under the law the previous Government introduced, Ministers were going to stay out of all these decisions, which would be trusted to an independent body; and that, under the 2004 European Union merger regulation that they signed up to, this is clearly a concentration that falls to be determined by Brussels regulation, not by this elected House of Commons. I therefore find it very surprising that the Opposition are demanding the Secretary of State to intervene, when he might end up in an illegal position if he tried to do so.

The Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills (Vince Cable): It is precisely because of the legal position that I have been studiously neutral on this matter. It is fair to say that there are elements of ambiguity—it is not absolutely clear—but the main position is exactly as the right hon. Gentleman described it: under the legislation we inherited from the Labour party, Ministers do not engage with decisions except in three very specific areas of public interest.

1 Comment

  1. Gavin Palmer
    May 7, 2014

    Dear Mr Redwood MP
    Thank you. I am concerned about the investment banking setting up the Ministers, civil servants, the advisers and Government in this matter before the event which is sadly normal practice.
    However since BP has been attempted to be carved up and obliterated by US courts and politicians, the banning of UKs strong online gambling website to enable US sites to gain market share, Asdas takeover by WalMart, GEC Marconi the same selling off of key assets, Krafts (statements ed) in taking over Cadbury I would strongly say that in US parlance the US are “bad actors” and thus like in the gambling should be excluded for a while as this takeover as rightly said by the ex CEO of Astra Zeneca would be similar to the 3 previous takeovers by Pfizer in being ( a profit and cashflow exercise with shrewd tax planning ed) The UK has no obligation to allow this undue exploitation of the fair British nation and the deprivation of needed tax revenues. The US does not reciprocate.
    I suggest a mooted change in tax offsetting to interest is overdue.
    The bleating by bankers over loss takeover fees is a mute point the national interest is served by making this takeover unworthwhile financially, politically and morally. Passing and redistributing around money in the city is not a value adding activity. Sadly too much of the city is dominated by US merchant banking firms and such are unreliable in giving unbiased advice. A shift in allocation of who issues Government Gilt auctions may help. Who are the financing banks?
    My name is Gavin Palmer I have over 22 years in active Corporate Governance and a former Director of the UK Shareholders Association and a former Director of ShareSoc.
    I suggest an engagement group with private investors is set up immediately via the IMA.
    My regards
    Gavin Palmer B.Eng. Mech. Exon.

    Reply I have not expressed a view on whether this b id should be accepted or not by the shareholders, if for no other reason than we have not yet had the chance to read a formal bid document. However, the outlines of it appear to include a commitment by Pfizer to research in the Cambridge area and payment of UK taxes due on the business they will have here. We will also need to read the defence document if the bid is opposed.

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