Clause 170 - offences

Enterprise Bill – in a Public Bill Committee am 5:00 pm ar 7 Mai 2002.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of Jonathan Djanogly Jonathan Djanogly Ceidwadwyr, Huntingdon 5:00, 7 Mai 2002

I beg to move amendment No. 327, in page 123, line 24, leave out

'and 117 (offences by bodies corporate)'.

The CBI brought this relatively small issue to our attention. Clause 170 deals with offences and provides that the mergers clauses dealing with false or misleading information and offences by bodies corporate apply also to the market regime. It has been suggested that the words ''and 117'', referring to clause 117 on offences by bodies corporate, should not be included. I would be interested to hear the Minister's comments.

Photo of Miss Melanie Johnson Miss Melanie Johnson Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Department of Trade and Industry 5:15, 7 Mai 2002

The clause is a standard provision. Under a similar section in the Competition Act 1998, section 72, where a body corporate has committed a relevant offence, an officer of that body corporate is also guilty if it is proved that the offence was committed with his consent or connivance, or resulted from neglect on his part. Without that power, as the hon. Gentleman urges, it would not be possible to hold a person responsible for the offence, committed by consent, connivance or neglect, of providing the Competition Commission with false or misleading information.

There should be a strong incentive for officers of bodies corporate to assist the Competition Commission in its investigations. The amendment would be detrimental to its investigative powers. I therefore hope to persuade the hon. Gentleman to withdraw his amendment.

Photo of Jonathan Djanogly Jonathan Djanogly Ceidwadwyr, Huntingdon

Having heard the Minister's assurances, I beg the Committee's leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Clause 170 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clauses 171 and 172 ordered to stand part of the Bill.