Lord Young was Trade and Industry Secretary in 1988, when Rowntree was sold.

He came under pressure to refer the takeover to the Monopolies And Mergers Commission (MMC), but did not do so.

He told Parliament Nestlé’s bids did not raise competition issues which would justify referral to the MMC and said there were no other public interest issues which justified a referral.

At the time, Nestlé had only three per cent of the UK confectionery market.

Today, Lord Young is enterprise adviser to David Cameron.

He resigned as economic adviser in 2010 after saying most people in Britain had “never had it so good” and referring to the “so-called recession” but he was subsequently re-appointed.

John MacGregor was Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food in 1988. He subsequently served as Education Secretary then Transport Secretary, and is now Baron MacGregor of Pulham Market in the House of Lords.