Clause 642

Company Law Reform Bill [Lords] – in a Public Bill Committee on 18th July 2006.

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The panel

Question proposed [13 July], That the clause stand part of the Bill.

Question again proposed.

Photo of Quentin Davies Quentin Davies Conservative, Grantham and Stamford

I had finished my remarks on this subject when we broke, but the Solicitor-General indicated that he wanted to intervene. Perhaps it would not be fair to deprive him of that opportunity, so if he wants to intervene—you will notice that I am speaking very slowly, Mr. Illsley—I shall happily remain on my feet, notionally, to take the intervention that I promised to take. I am a great believer in at least trying to keep one’s promises.

Photo of Mike O'Brien Mike O'Brien Solicitor General, Law Officers' Department

I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for remembering his promise. He always responds with courtesy, but I think the moment has passed.

Photo of Jonathan Djanogly Jonathan Djanogly Shadow Minister (Business, Innovation and Skills), Shadow Solicitor General, Shadow Minister (Justice)

The Solicitor-General might feel that the moment has passed, but I asked over a dozen questions earlier, and my hon. Friends the Members for Clwyd, West (Mr. Jones), for Grantham and Stamford (Mr. Davies) and for North-West Cambridgeshire (Mr. Vara) all made pertinent remarks in their speeches. Perhaps the Solicitor-General will do us the courtesy of responding.

Photo of Mike O'Brien Mike O'Brien Solicitor General, Law Officers' Department

I am afraid that the hon. Gentleman was so discourteous in his comments and spoke at such length that I was not quite sure what he was asking at any particular point. His contribution was more about wasting time than about asking pointed questions. During the debate, I tried to respond to particular, more pointed, issues that were raised by his Back-Bench colleagues. I hope that I did respond to them.

I am not sure that there is much more that I can say about the comments made in the other place by my noble Friend the Attorney-General on the circumstances in which the takeover panel might cease to exist, because that is, as he then described, merely a fall-back position in case something goes wrong, but it is not anticipated that anything will.

The takeover panel is quite relaxed about—indeed supportive of—the broad thrust of our proposals and has made that position clear on all occasions. The hon.  Member for Huntingdon (Mr. Djanogly) was candid in accepting that the panel broadly supports the proposals. I suspect that, with a few exceptions, he and the official Opposition also broadly support them, and that they wanted to waste some time this morning. Well, they have wasted it; I do not see why I should waste any more of the Committee’s time.

Photo of Jonathan Djanogly Jonathan Djanogly Shadow Minister (Business, Innovation and Skills), Shadow Solicitor General, Shadow Minister (Justice)

Frankly, I find that response dismissive and rather upsetting. I might have made points at length, but that is not necessarily the case for those of my hon. Friends who spoke after me. The Solicitor-General might not think that our points are valid, but they certainly merit a better response than he just gave. Simply saying that they were covered by the Attorney-General in the other place is not an impressive response. Now that I have put that on the record, there is not much more I can say.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause 642 ordered to stand part of the Bill.