DESPITE intense national debate and questions in the House of Commons, the Thatcher Cabinet appears never to have debated the Nestlé-Rowntree takeover nor the action it should take.

As part of the Freedom of Information tribunal ruling, the Cabinet Office was ordered to hand over all relevant minutes from April 1 to August 1, 1988, but it says that amounts to only one paragraph.

On June 23, 1988, the Trade and Industry Secretary informed Cabinet that an announcement was being made that day that Nestlé had increased its bid for Rowntree to £2.55 billion and that Rowntree directors were recommending acceptance.

The Cabinet “took note” of the update but there is no reference to debate or discussion.