The Great Debate UK

Mandelson spares Byers’ blushes over Rover


REUTERS– Neil Collins is a Reuters columnist. The views expressed are his own –

At the very least, it’s frightfully convenient for the British government to call in the Serious Fraud Office to look into MG Rover, a former carmaker. Whether there’s a shocking crime or not, it suits Peter Mandelson, the Business Secretary, to organise a further delay before this gory case is finally closed.

It took BDO Stoy Hayward’s partner Gervase MacGregor 16 million pounds and four years to report on a case which looked open and shut at the time. Whatever exciting new detail he has unearthed, this attempt to smear the so-called Phoenix Four is little more than political treachery.

The Four, as John Towers and his three cronies were immediately dubbed, saw an opportunity. They might have genuinely believed they could make a go of a business where even BMW had failed, but few others did. BMW gifted them the company, added 427 million pounds and the (uncomfortably large) stock of unsold cars, and gratefully walked away.