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London And Counties Securities Group

Volume 889: debated on Monday 24 March 1975

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asked the Secretary of State for Trade whether the special investigation being carried out by his Department into London and Counties Securities Group has been completed; and if he will make a statement.

I have now received the inspectors' report and I am considering it. I am not in a position at the present time to make a statement.

Will my hon. Friend, when he is considering this report, devote a great deal of time to the essential part which was played by the Leader of the Liberal Party in keeping going this bankrupt concern at the time when he was—

Order. There is a personal implication in that. The hon. Gentleman must not do that, except by motion.

Yes, that is a personal implication, but nevertheless it is a question which in my view has to be answered. It has to be answered—

Order. The only way in which the hon. Gentleman can keep within the rules of order and make such an implication is by substantive motion.

It is rather strange that a lot of personal imputations are made against me, but I do not go crying to the Chair. I am prepared to stand the criticisms that are made against me because of my stand in politics. I am asking my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary to take full consideration of the way in which the Liberal Leader—

Order. The hon. Member may not do that. I have ruled that it is a personal implication.

—of the way in which all the directors of the bankrupt London and Counties Securities Group kept that concern going when it was obvious to many people within the City and to those writing the financial columns that it was a bankrupt concern. Will my hon. Friend take cognisance of the domino effect that that had on other secondary and fringe banks? Will he learn one important political lesson out of this, namely, that we must have public accountability for all banks and insurance groups?

It follows from the fact that I am considering this matter that I shall consider all relevant circumstances.