Clause 1 — Office of Fair Trading

Part of Orders of the Day — Enterprise Bill – in the House of Commons at 5:45 pm on 30th October 2002.

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Photo of Miss Melanie Johnson Miss Melanie Johnson Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Department of Trade and Industry 5:45 pm, 30th October 2002

I have already explained that there is a possibility of splitting the roles. It is easy to argue whether there are two roles or one, but arguing how the role is divided is largely academic. It has strategic and operational aspects. The point is whether there is a separate strategic post. I could argue in different terms, but I am using those that have been put to me in the debate.

The concerns expressed by several hon. Members, including Mr. Redwood, were mainly about individual decisions taken by the office. We see the role of any chairman, whether or not it is separate from that of the chief executive, exercised as part of a strategic board arrangement and providing strategic oversight. There would not be a decision-by-decision oversight of matters to do with the operation of the office.