Government Intervention (Melrose Takeover)

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Bim Afolami: I draw the House’s attention to the fact that, in the dark days before I came to this House, I spent several years in the City advising on mergers and acquisitions, and Melrose was one of the companies that I advised several times. Bearing that in mind, while there is of course a narrow range of scenarios in which the Government can intervene on a quasi-judicial basis, as the Secretary of State has already set out, will he confirm whether the Government will always ensure that we have an open globalised economy based on competition, not one in which politicians will capriciously intervene, which would be the approach of the Labour party?

Greg Clark: That is the right approach. The UK’s reputation for being a dependable place to invest and do business is based on clear rules and principles, and we have benefited from that. We make significant investments in the UK economy, we make significant investments in overseas companies, and we hold big assets. That is important to us, and we should be a trading nation, which means that we should be open to investment as we invest in other countries. That is the heart of our approach. However, it is important to keep the regime under review, and where there are long-term interests, such as in research and development, it is right that we have introduced an ability during a takeover bid to extract indications of how a bidder would approach things. That is what we have done in this case.

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