MPs on the Commons Trade and Industry Select committee yesterday ordered the inquiry to see what lessons could be learnt from the demise of the UK’s last independent mass carmaker and whether more or less should have been done to prevent it.
Stephen Byers, Trade and Industry Secretary in 2000, will be grilled on his actions to facilitate BMW’s sale of MG Rover to the so called 'Phoenix Four' for just £10. Patricia Hewitt will be asked to explain her offer of more than £100 million of taxpayers’ money to keep the failing company in production while talks continued with China’s Shanghai Automotive industry Corporation, and the authorisation of nearly £10 million to pay the wages of the Longbridge workforce.
Some or all of the Pheonix Four, who have been heavily criticised for their management of the company and are already under investigation by the DTI, are expected to be called before the committee. It will be their first public appearance since the carmaker’s collapse in April last year.
The inquiry is expected to commence in the spring.