Paul Channon – 1986 Statement on British Leyland

Below is the text of the statement made by Paul Channon, the then Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, in the House of Commons on 3 February 1986.

With the approval of the BL board, discussions are in progress between BL and General Motors with the aim of creating an internationally competitive United Kingdom commercial vehicle industry and improving the long-term prospects for the constituent BL companies. These talks cover Leyland Trucks, Land Rover, Freight Rover and certain related overseas operations. Discussions are at an advanced stage, but a number of important issues remain to be settled Separate discussions are taking place with the Laird Group, which owns Metro Cammell Weyman, about the future of Leyland Bus.

As to the other BL businesses, it remains the policy of Her Majesty’s Government to return them to private ownership as soon as practicable. Talks with other car manufacturers on a variety of potential business ventures are in progress; some of them are wide-ranging, but are at an exploratory stage, and it is too early to tell whether they will lead to any potential equity stake, acquisition or merger.