Clause 1 — Office of Fair Trading

Part of Orders of the Day — Enterprise Bill – in the House of Commons at 5:15 pm on 30th October 2002.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Andrew Robathan Andrew Robathan Shadow Spokesperson (Trade and Industry) 5:15 pm, 30th October 2002

The Minister did indeed say that earlier, but she has not quite explained how the powers currently vested in the Director General of Fair Trading will not be vested in the same person, although there will be non-executive directors, as she said. We believe that it is a good principle in corporate governance that there should be two people for two posts. That is true of public limited companies, and I suggest that it should also be true here, especially in a body that is required to oversee so many plcs and to consider fair trading. The Government have certainly not convinced me or my hon. Friends, or, I suggest, the Lords, otherwise.

The second amendment under discussion is like unto the first. It talks about Xgood corporate governance", and I find it strange that the Government should want to change it at all. It states:

XIn managing its affairs the OFT must have regard to the generally accepted principles of good corporate governance."

I sat in this Chamber only the week before last and listened to the introduction of a ten-minute Bill that lauded the merits of good corporate governance and stated how important it was that we all adhered to them. I do not understand why the Government want to change this proposal. Their amendment is woolly, it dilutes the purpose of having such a statement in the Bill, and it is rather meaningless. It follows the same basic idea but dilutes the principle. I do not think that it is worth opposing, but I would like the Government to explain why they intend to change the wording because the Minister has not explained, whatever she may say.