Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Neil Warwick - The question was asked

IT is always important to ask the right questions. Never been more relevant than the Leveson inquiry. Prime Minister looks to the current investigation going on, to answer questions about his relationship with News International, Rebekah Brooks and others. The irony is not lost to the Prime Minister today is to give evidence to an inquiry that he instigated. As always the question revolves around the element of fame or notoriety of the story - riding in Brooks, a dinner party Sunday with editor and TV presenter. In the spirit of Tony Blair's fairness based on equal treatment with a lot of focus on the fact that he is godfather to Rupert Murdoch's son. Almost as beyond the limits of the question to oversee the appointment of Jeremy Hunt BSkyB merger discussions lifted and all the focus on whether he was biased against the merger at the time of appointment. However, a more important question is why it is necessary to put the minister in a position to oversee the merger when the competition laws now meant to be removed from political influence. With Orwellian name change in various government departments, the major players are now the chief executive of the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) and the Secretary of State for the Department of Business Innovation and Skills. While the name change is largely the same position, role changes, even subtle. Under the new law the decision makers and the chief executive of the Competition Commission can act as an appeal body that appeals to Competition Tribunal has a managerial role. There was meant to be no government interference. As is often technically under the Secretary of State for Business Innovation and Skills, the minister was not designed to interfere with a merger clearance decision. Comments made by the Secretary of State has now made it clear she BSkyB role in merger analysis. However, since he had a role in any case it would not be easy to make it clear? As an aside, when the minister can intervene in the merger clearance in the "soft" as Secretary of State? Answer - Lord Mandelson. :: Neil Warwick, partner at Dickinson Dees.

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