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Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 5:35 pm on 27th January 1981.

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Photo of Geoffrey Robinson Geoffrey Robinson , Coventry North West 5:35 pm, 27th January 1981

I am grateful to my hon. Friend for his intervention. If we have to go to the length of having a Select Committee, and if it will be able immediately to demand documents, as it effectively did on the question of the British Steel Corporation, I shall agree to use that mechanism.

We could go to the Select Committee and send a messanger from the House to the Department, asking for the full accessibility and discoverability of all the documents used in this marvellous accounting procedure. We would want to see the working papers which now are alleged to show—nobody believes it—that neither paper is a going concern and lead to the conclusion that a reference is not necessary.

Today's decision is not worthy of the right hon. Gentleman. We cannot and shall not let it rest there. The light that access to the papers will shed on the prospectus and on the accounting exercise in the Department will, we hope, blow the case sky high. In any event, the right hon. Gentleman will rue the day that he tried to put that decision through the House.