Q and A: MPs to grill Astrazeneca & Pfizer

Q A lot seemed to happen in parliament yesterday, didn’t it?

A Yes it did, two big things to note: business secretary Vince Cable responded to questions from other MPs in an especially convened emergency debate, and two select committees said they wanted to call the bosses of both companies to explain the deal.

Q Okay, tell me about more Vince.

A The business secretary said the government would remain neutral on the deal but signalled a shift in tone by saying the coalition would examine the scope to intervene by using its public interest powers.

Q What are “public interest powers”?

A Government can only intervene in a business deal under certain circumstances. However, it could widen the public interest test powers and use that route to have a hand in any Pfizer bid.

Q Enough Vince. What about the select committees?

A The business select committee said it wants to speak to both Pfizer and Astrazeneca. Yesterday the science and technology committee waded in to demand a piece of the action. It too will question both companies.