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Company Directors Disqualification (Amendment) (Northern Ireland) Order 2005

– in the House of Lords at 4:07 pm on 26th May 2005.

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Photo of Lord Rooker Lord Rooker Minister of State, Northern Ireland Office, The Minister of State, Northern Ireland Office

My Lords, the order introduces a specific measure that is broadly in line with one already in force in Great Britain by the enactment of the Enterprise Act 2002. I will comment briefly and say a few words about the order.

The main purpose of the order is to protect consumers by providing a deterrent to company directors engaging in price fixing or other abuses of competition law. The order makes it possible for a director of a company that is in breach of competition law to be disqualified for up to 15 years. The order is considered to be non-controversial. Consultation was carried out in Northern Ireland. A small number of replies were received, the majority of which were favourable. I beg to move.

Moved, That the draft order laid before the House on 20 January be approved.—(Lord Rooker.)

Photo of Lord Glentoran Lord Glentoran Spokespersons In the Lords, Northern Ireland

My Lords, I welcome the order. I am delighted that it has come in. Price fixing and unfair trading has been around for far too long in Northern Ireland. Strengthening the penalties has to be right.

Photo of Baroness Harris of Richmond Baroness Harris of Richmond Other Whip, Spokesperson in the Lords, Northern Ireland Affairs

My Lords, we too support the order. Following consultation in Northern Ireland, no changes were proposed to the draft order. The change seems sensible. However, I just ask the Minister what other body or organisation could be specified as a regulator under the order, other than the OFT.

Photo of Lord Rooker Lord Rooker Minister of State, Northern Ireland Office, The Minister of State, Northern Ireland Office

My Lords, I will endeavour to obtain an answer for the noble Baroness. Departments change titles and organisations change their functions, and it may be that if, for example, the OFT was replaced by another department or renamed, we would have the legislative framework to deal with that, which I think is normal in other legislation.

On Question, Motion agreed to.