§ 28. Mr. Skinner
To ask the Attorney-General when he next expects to meet the Director of Public Prosecutions to discuss City fraud; and if he will make a statement.
§ The Attorney-General (Sir Patrick Mayhew)
Primary responsibility for the prosecution of commercial fraud rests with the Serious Fraud Office. I expect to meet the director again shortly to discuss matters of departmental interest.
§ Mr. Skinner
What action is the Attorney-General taking on the sale of the National Bus Company—as reported by the National Audit Office—which was sold off by Government spivs at less than half price? Has not he learnt the lesson? We hear now that the regional electricity companies are being sold off for £5 billion when their asset value is more than £16 billion. What is all this talk about 13 a classless society? This is a casino society run by spivs like the right hon. and learned Gentleman and his friends in the Government.
§ Mr. Speaker
Order. To refer to an hon. Member as a spiv is not a parliamentary expression. Will the hon. Gentleman withdraw it?
§ The Attorney-General
I am grateful that in this classless society the hon. Gentleman did not describe me as a first-class spiv or a spiv of any category. I think that the hon. Gentleman is confused. Privatisation is a case of the state wanting to divest itself of that which it no longer wants to hold. Fraudsters want to divest other people of what fraudsters want to hold. I am enjoying embarking on an area of responsibility that is not mine, but the hon. Gentleman overlooks the extreme popularity of the privatisation programme—he cannot forgive that.