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Prohibition On Abuse Of Information Obtained In Official Capacity

Volume 980: debated on Monday 3 March 1980

The text on this page has been created from Hansard archive content, it may contain typographical errors.

Amendments made: No. 110, in page 80, line 11, leave out from 'deal' to end of line 12 and insert

'in any such securities, knowing or having reasonable cause to believe that that other person would deal in them on a recognised stock exchange'.

No. 111, in page 80, line 19, at end insert 'other'.—[ Mr. Parkinson.]

I beg to move amendment No. 112, in page 80, line 23, at end add—

'(5) An individual shall not, by reason only of having information relating to a particular transaction, be prohibited by any provision of this section from doing anything if he does that thing in order to facilitate the completion or carrying out of the transaction.'.
The purpose of this amendment is to provide in the case of clause 66, which relates to insider dealing by Crown servants, the defence which is provided in clause 65(10) for insider dealing generally.

As the Minister said, this amendment parallels clause 65(10), which is in the context of takeovers and provides that there is no offence when a person merely carries out or completes a transaction which he has already initiated after coming within the scope of the prohibition—that is, if he acquires securities before announcing his intention in a takeover bid. It is difficult to understand how the exemption, which is proper under clause 65, is applicable to a person who obtains information in an official capacity or from someone in an official capacity. It would be helpful if the Minister were to set out the relevance of the proposition to a Crown servant.

We are trying to cover the parallel to the commercial case involving Crown servants. For example, shares previously held by the Government might be disposed of. The Crown servant might have begun to be involved in a transaction when a sudden decision was taken of which he had no prior knowledge. In that case the Crown servant could be in the same position as the commercial person.

Amendment agreed to.