Maxwell statement sought from ex-minister

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MARJORIE MOWLAM, the Labour spokeswoman on City affairs, tabled a parliamentary motion last night calling on Peter Walker, the former Cabinet minister, to make clear whether he raised any doubts he had about Maxwell Communication Corporation, Robert Maxwell's main public company with the relevant authorities.

Ms Mowlam tabled the Early Day Motion yesterday. It says: 'This House notes that Peter Walker was approached by Kevin Maxwell to be the chairman of MCC in March 1991; a deal which gave him pounds 100,000-a-year for a non-executive position, a Mercedes 500 SEL and share options worth pounds 1.3m over three years. His acceptance of the post was announced in April when he became a director of MCC.'

The motion then 'notes that after the results in June he became concerned about the finances of the company and commissioned two reports, one by Smith New Court (MCC stockbroking advisers on whose board Mr Walker sits) and another by a firm of management consultants.'

The motion 'further notes that Peter Walker announced that he would not become chairman on July 16 1991 and stepped down as a non-executive director at the group's AGM in September when he recieved the car, pounds 100,000 and 201,000 shares which he sold immediately at around 170p a share'.

The motion 'recognises that these demands may have been based on Peter Walker's evaluation that the future viability of the company was in doubt rather than any information he received from reports commissioned on the basis of information he gained as a board member and calls upon Peter Walker to make clear that any doubts or worries he had about MCC were passed on to the regulatory bodies.'

Mr Walker was unavailable for comment last night.

Securities probe, page 20