Former Tory attorney general Sir Nicholas Lyell complained this was 'too blunt' an instrument and 'dangerous'. During debates on the Bill setting up the Financial Services Authority, he argued for a requirement for overseas-based financial services companies seeking business in the UK to register with the FSA. He also called for more discretion for the courts over whether an 'illegal' contract should be enforceable where breaches in the law were purely technical. Lyell claimed there was a gap in the proposed financial services legislation's provisions for companies based elsewhere in the European Economic Area to do business in Britain providing they are certified by the Treasury as subject to similar regulation at home. He said British citizens should have protection from knowing the FSA knew what was going on and could liaise with its counterparts abroad. Financial secretary Stephen Timms denied a gap in the law. But he admitted there was uncertainty, stating an Oslo company attracting pension investments from Britain through a server in Norway would 'normally' be regarded as doing business in Britain. But he said: 'There might be an argument for it to be deemed not to be conducting business in the UK.'
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