Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 4:22 pm on 23rd May 1995.

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Photo of Mr Michael Heseltine Mr Michael Heseltine President of the Board of Trade 4:22 pm, 23rd May 1995

I am grateful to the right hon. Gentleman for some of the generous things that he said at the beginning of his statement.

I do not think that the right hon. Gentleman fully appreciated what I said in my statement. If the MMC had come forward with an emphatic, clear and unequivocal recommendation, unanimously reached, I would, of course, have recognised it as part of the evidence that I had to consider. It is quite apparent, however, that the MMC found it as difficult a decision as it undoubtedly is, and as the right hon. Gentleman recognised. The fact is that the MMC divided 4:2 on the issue—the chairman is a member of the committee. If one comes down to simple numbers, one is talking about one person's view, because if one of the four had changed his mind, the outcome would have been three all. The MMC obviously reached a narrow decision.