Clause 27 - Public interest interventions in markets investigations

Part of Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 4:45 pm on 10 July 2012.

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Photo of Chi Onwurah Chi Onwurah Shadow Minister (Business, Innovation and Skills) 4:45, 10 July 2012

I thank the Minister for his comments. I am glad and relieved to find that we agree on some of the underlying philosophical points and principles, although  I am still uncertain about what the Government are trying to achieve. On the one hand he says that such occurrences would be rare, that only one public interest—national security—has been identified, and that he expects such cases to arise infrequently. In that case, however, is it really worth while sending a message about public interest not being with the Secretary of State, and making those changes? On the other hand, he says that it is important that the CMA has the ability to consider the public interest in the round. I found the Minister’s example of national security particularly worrying. Some would argue that the Government’s first responsibility is to ensure the security of its citizens.