Lloyd's of London

– in the House of Commons at 4:47 pm on 4th June 1991.

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Photo of Mr Bob Cryer Mr Bob Cryer , Bradford South 4:47 pm, 4th June 1991

On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. As you know, some 50 Members of the House are members of Lloyd's and four of those are members of the Government. I understand that Government orders for Ministers do not require them to divest themselves of their membership of Lloyd's while they are in office.

The Finance Bill is before the House—part of it, as usual, being taken on the Floor of the House and part of it in Committee. A letter from Lloyd's of London, signed by the chairman of that body, has come into my possession. I am anxious to notify you of that, Mr. Deputy Speaker, because the section of the Bill which is dealt with in the letter could come before the House at any time.

The chairman of Lloyd's says: Thirdly, I have been pursuing with the Government for some time certain aspects of the tax arrangements for names. I had a meeting with the Chancellor last week when I received a sympathetic hearing. We discussed both reserving and the extension of the relief proposed in the Budget to Names. It is with that latter point that I wish to deal now.

The letter refers to an extension of a concession to companies proposed in the Budget to members of Lloyd's. That would mean that rules in "Erskine May" which preclude an hon. Member voting when there is a clear pecuniary interest would apply both to members who are Conservative Back Benchers—the 50 members concerned are exclusively Conservatives—and to members of the Government.

The amendment in question could come before the House at any time, and as the chairman of Lloyd's has made it clear that he has received, as I have said, a sympathetic hearing, and I hope that I shall be able to report a successful outcome to you in my June address", he clearly anticipates success.

I hope that you, Mr. Deputy Speaker, will report my comments to Mr. Speaker—so that he can make a statement at the earliest opportunity—and make it clear that none of the right hon. or hon. Members who have an involvement in Lloyd's will be allowed to vote on that matter.

Photo of Mr Paul Dean Mr Paul Dean , Woodspring

It appears from the hon. Member's remarks that the case that he puts is hypothetical at the moment. I am not sure whether Mr. Speaker has seen the letter to which the hon. Member referred, and I shall be grateful if he will let me have it. I can then draw it to the attention of Mr. Speaker.