§ Mr. Tony Lloyd
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster if he will make a statement on his reasons for not immediately referring the takeover bid for Century Press by Thomson Regional Newspapers to the Monopolies and Mergers Commission.
§ Mr. Atkins
[holding answer 16 January 1989]The application by Thomson Regional Newspapers has been made under the financial urgency provisions in section 58(3)(a) of the Fair Trading Act 1973. This legislation allows the Secretary of State one month in which to consent to the transfer or refer it to the Monopolies and Mergers Commission for inquiry. No decision on the application will be taken until all relevant factors have been taken into account, including representations by third parties.