Formula One

Oral Answers to Questions — Trade and Industry – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 5 February 1998.

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Photo of Mr John Wilkinson Mr John Wilkinson Conservative, Ruislip - Northwood 12:00, 5 February 1998

What discussions she has had with the European Union Commissioner, Mr. van Miert, about his investigations into the request by the formula one motor racing industry for exemption from regulations relating to EU competition law. [25695]

Photo of Mr John Wilkinson Mr John Wilkinson Conservative, Ruislip - Northwood

What—or who—has induced the Government to be so indulgent towards blatantly anti-competitive practices in formula one motor sport? Is the Minister unaware that the position of the generous benefactor, Bernie Ecclestone, is highly invidious in as much as he sits on the board of the regulatory body—the HA—while running his own company, Formula One Holdings? Has not the European Commissioner, Mr. van Miert, said that the whole set up is layer upon layer of exclusive deals'? Only yesterday, in the Belgian Parliament, did not Mr. van Mien say that

Unlike national governments the European Commission would not bow to pressure from the sport'? Why are Ministers so indulgent and so ineffectual about such blatant malpractices?

Photo of Nigel Griffiths Nigel Griffiths Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Competition and Consumer Affairs), Department of Trade and Industry

I have not followed the proceedings of the Belgian Parliament as closely as the hon. Gentleman, but we support the full and fair application of European Community competition rules. The involvement of particular individuals does not affect our position?