Johnson Matthey Bankers

Oral Answers to Questions — National Finance – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 27th June 1985.

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Photo of Mr Ian Stewart Mr Ian Stewart The Economic Secretary to the Treasury

I refer the hon. Gentleman to the statement made by my right hon. Friend the Chancellor on 20 June.

Photo of Dennis Skinner Dennis Skinner Member, Labour Party National Executive Committee

Are the Minister and his friend the Chancellor afraid to publish the truth?

Photo of Mr Peter Bruinvels Mr Peter Bruinvels , Leicester East

Where was the hon. Gentleman?

Photo of Mr Bernard Weatherill Mr Bernard Weatherill , Croydon North East

Order. Let the hon. Gentleman ask his question.

Photo of Dennis Skinner Dennis Skinner Member, Labour Party National Executive Committee

Will the Minister confirm that one of the biggest borrowers from Johnson Matthey Bankers is a friend of the Prime Minister and the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry? Will he also confirm that that man borrowed more than £15 million and employed the son of one of the directors of Johnson Matthey Bankers? Is that why the Government are not prepared to let people know what is in the Price Waterhouse report? Is it not a fact that, on a day when Lambeth is being covered and crawled over by accountants, there is one law for people prepared to carry out the mandate of the people, but no scrutiny from the Bank of England for a company which has lost £248 million? Is there not one law for the bankers and another for Labour councillors in Lambeth, Edinburgh and Liverpool?

Photo of Mr Geoffrey Dickens Mr Geoffrey Dickens , Littleborough and Saddleworth

Why did my hon. Friend not refer the hon. Member for Bolsover (Mr. Skinner) to the Bank of England annual report now published and lodged in the Vote Office, documents Nos. 104 and 105, giving a blow-by-blow account of the rescue operation and an inter-round summary, the main thrust of which clearly shows that if the rescue operation had not taken place there would probably have been no danger to the United Kingdom bullion and gold market, but that, due to misunderstandings throughout the world, we might have been at risk? Why does my hon. Friend not give the hon. Gentleman the facts?

Hon. Members:

Answer.

Photo of Mr Ian Stewart Mr Ian Stewart The Economic Secretary to the Treasury

I could indeed have referred the hon. Member for Bolsover (Mr. Skinner) to the information contained in that report, but as he asked such a concise question I was anxious to give him a concise reply.

Photo of Mr Brian Sedgemore Mr Brian Sedgemore , Hackney South and Shoreditch

If the Select Committee on the Treasury and Civil Service decides to hold an inquiry into the collapse of Johnson Matthey Bankers, may we have an assurance that the Chancellor will appear at the inquiry and that the Price Waterhouse report will be made available, at least on a confidential basis?

Photo of Mr Ian Stewart Mr Ian Stewart The Economic Secretary to the Treasury

I cannot possibly answer questions about hypothetical decisions of the Select Committee on the Treasury and Civil Service.