Is the Secretary of State aware that his indecision in regard to this matter has created great uncertainty in the pharmaceutical industry? Is it not a matter for concern to his Department that when there was a blatant takeover bid by Beecham's he refused to refer this matter to the Monopolies Commission? Does he not understand that people consider that he is more concerned about his City interests than he is about those employed in this industry?
In my right hon. Friend's current review of monopoly policy will he consider whether it is necessary to retain the present powers over mergers? Might it not be better in the case of a proposed merger to say that if it would result in too great a monopoly situation he will exercise his powers to prevent it, in the public interest?
Is the Secretary of State aware that his lamentable failure to refer to the Monopolies Commission the blatant takeover bid by Beecham's was a dereliction of duty? Is he further aware that all members of Glaxo's staff and workers regard this as an insult to their endeavours on behalf of the nation? Will he give an assurance that he will not treat the Glaxo firm in such a cavalier manner in future?
Is my right hon. Friend aware that many people, including the shareholders, are very anxious about the consequences for employment and the prosperity of communities in a merger situation like this? Will he encourage companies making a bid to publish in their offer documents full details of the likely consequences for employment and plant location?
Would the right hon. Gentleman bear in mind that there is deep public disquiet about the criteria by which he refers these matters to the Monopolies Commission and that in many people's minds the only major difference—although the decision that he has taken now is the right one—between these two companies wishing to take over Glaxo is that, in the first case, Beecham's had contributed very heavily to the Conservative Party's funds and that Boots had not contributed at all? Was the earlier decision a case of payment for services rendered?