Westland plc (Select Committee Evidence)

– in the House of Commons at 4:58 pm on 27 April 1987.

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Photo of Robin Cook Robin Cook , Livingston 4:58, 27 April 1987

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. I refer you to the report of the Select Committee on Trade and Industry in February this year concerning share dealings in Westland. As the minutes of the proceedings make clear, on 14 May the Committee received evidence from representatives of Westland and of Lazard Brothers, its merchant bankers. At page 179, the representatives were asked whether they had any knowledge of the six mystery buyers of shares in Westland. Mr. Michael Baughan, director of Lazards, is recorded as replying: "No knowledge whatsoever."

Last week, it emerged that the Banque Dreyfus, which is one of the six mystery buyers, is a corresponding bank of Lazard Brothers. That information was not disclosed to the Select Committee, although, since the chairman of Lazard Brothers is a former Member of the House and of the Government, the bank might have been expected to know of the importance of the Select Committee and of any dealings with it.

I ask you, Mr.Speaker, to invite Ministers to note this expression of concern and to suggest to them that a full statement would be welcome, to discover whether they knew this information, when they knew it and why the information was not disclosed to the Select Committee on any of the three separate occasions when Ministers gave evidence to it.

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

This is not a question of order. As the hon. Gentleman correctly said, it is a matter for the Government and for the Select Committee, and I have no doubt that his comments will have been heard. Now I will take Mr. Heffer.