Tuesday, 6 May 2014

Cambridge MP Raises AstraZeneca Bid In Commons As Matter Of Urgency

MP Julian Huppert has been granted an urgent question in the House of Commons this afternoon (Tuesday, May 6) to try to get answers on the bid by American pharmaceutical giant Pfizer for AstraZeneca.

He will call on Business Secretary, Vince Cable to make a statement on how the bid will affect the UK economy, employment and skills.

Julian was given special permission by the Speaker to raise this issue, and after his initial question and a statement from Dr Cable, he will be given a further two minutes to raise concerns. MPs will then be given the chance to question Dr Cable on the matter.

“This is the biggest foreign takeover bid in UK history and would lead to the formation of the world’s largest pharmaceutical company,” said Julian. “If the takeover goes ahead there are a large number of questions and I want to give MPs the chance to ask those questions directly to the Business Secretary.

“I am concerned about the future of AstraZeneca’s planned move to Cambridge which involves an investment of £330 million on site and jobs for 2,000 people. And I am worried about Pfizer’s future plans in the UK which have implications for our economy as a whole.”

Julian will raise concerns about Pfizer’s plans to make the company’s new headquarters in the US but domiciled in the UK for tax purposes.

“It is very unclear what this would mean in practice,” said Julian. “It is also unclear what the implications are for the large numbers of skilled pharmaceutical jobs in the UK, including in R&D, advanced manufacturing, and management. Pfizer have written to the Prime Minister with a statement on this issue, but there is very little detail in it, and easy provision to change it.”

An urgent question is a question for which no previous notice has been given. It must relate to a matter of public importance or the arrangement of business.

Julian will ask his question at 3.30pm in the House of Commons after Justice Questions.

His question reads as follows:

Urgent Question: To ask the Business Secretary if he will make a statement on the bid from Pfizer for AstraZeneca, and the resulting effect on the economy, employment and skills in the UK.