David Cameron and Ed Miliband have come to loggerheads over the proposed takeover of pharmaceutical and biologics company, AstraZeneca, by its US rival Pfizer.
During a heated Prime Minister’s Questions, the Labour leader called on Mr Cameron to intervene in the deal, citing concerns over British jobs and British science.
Mr Miliband told the Commons that failure to do so meant “everyone will know he was acting as a cheerleader” for the deal.
“Is he ruling out or ruling in the public interest test on this matter?” he asked of the Prime Minister.
Mr Cameron insisted the Government was acting in the interests of British jobs, research and development and science.
Widening the public interest test?
His opposite number assured that Labour would stand behind the Government if it agreed to widen the public interest test to include science and research and development.
Whilst Mr Cameron refused to be drawn on whether he planned to apply a public interest test to the proposed merger, he voiced agreeance with Business Secretary, Vince Cable, who said on Tuesday that Britain could apply the test.
“I absolutely agree with what the Business Secretary said yesterday but let me be clear, the most important intervention we can make is to back British jobs, British science, British R&D, British medicines and British technology,” Mr Cameron told Parliament.
“The assessment that I want is from the business department on this deal,” he added. “And I will judge all these things about does it expand British jobs, British investment, British science.”
AstraZeneca, which employs 6,700 in the UK, took less than a few hours to turn down Pfizer’s latest bid which valued it at £63bn on Friday.
AstraZeneca, david cameron, ed miliband, Pfizer,
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