EU Law Last Line of HBOS Defence

10 December 2008
SNP Member of the European Parliament Mr Alyn Smith has expressed his disappointment at the decision by the Competition Appeal Tribunal to dismiss the legal challenge of the Merger Action Group. He has redoubled efforts to gain clarity over EU law aspects of the proposed takeover.

The MEP wrote to the European Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes over two weeks ago regarding the competition issues surrounding the takeover.

Mr Smith commented:

"I am very disappointed at today's decision. The tribunal has merely rubber-stamped the UK Government's plans, absolutely overlooking the very valid concerns of the Office of Fair Trading. From the start, the UK Government has set its face against any option other than the Lloyds - HBOS merger.

"I have already written to the European Competition Commissioner querying the actions of the UK Government and I will redouble my appeal in order to get clarification on this as soon as possible.

"The European Commission is the ultimate arbiter of fair play, and it has now become our last line of defence. There is a substantive European legal point to be satisfied and it would be extremely unwise for the UK Government to overlook this.

"The Commission has already forced changes in its operation in other countries where recapitalisation has not been made available to all on the same terms. There remain a number of pressing EU law questions on HBOS."