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National Security and Investment Bill completes final stage

28 April 2021

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The National Security and Investment Bill returned to the Lords twice on Wednesday 28 April for consideration of Commons amendments.

Members debated Commons reasons for disagreement to the Lords amendment on Intelligence and Security Committee oversight. Following the debate, the motion to accept Commons reasons was agreed to.

As both Houses have agreed on the text of the bill, it now awaits the final stage of Royal Assent. It will then become an Act of Parliament (law).

Royal Assent is expected to take place on Thursday 29 April.

Consideration of Commons amendments (part one): Wednesday 28 April

The House of Lords asked the Commons and the government to think again on Intelligence and Security Committee oversight of the powers in the bill. 


Members voted 318 for, 241 against motion A1 (PDF), so the change was made

The bill returned to the Commons for it to consider the Lords amendment, and returned to the Lords later on the same day (Wednesday 28 April).

Third reading: Thursday 22 April

No changes to the wording of the bill were suggested ahead of third reading.

Members discussed the progress of the bill through the House at the conclusion of Lords stages.

Report stage: Thursday 15 April

Members discussed changes on topics including the risk to national security posed by climate change and guidance for the higher education and research sector.

There were two votes (divisions) on proposed changes (amendments) to the bill.

Regime decisions

The first vote was on amendment 24, which requires the Secretary of State to provide additional information on regime decisions, either in the annual report or, where details are too sensitive to publish, confidentially to the Intelligence and Security Committee.

Members voted 296 for, 232 against, so the change was made.

Parliamentary scrutiny

The second vote was on amendment 39, which would ensure parliamentary scrutiny of regulations made under section 6(1) of the bill, introducing the super-affirmative procedure

Members voted 118 in favour and 255 against, so the change was not made.

Committee stage day three: Tuesday 16 March

Members discussed subjects including disclosure of information to countries with reciprocal agreements, review of business loans and grants distributed in response to COVID-19 and climate, environment and ecological security.

Lords committee stage day two: Tuesday 9 March

Members discussed a rage of topics, including acquisition of land near sensitive sites, minority investor veto rights and assets wholly controlled within UK higher education and research institutes.

Committee stage day one: Tuesday 2 March

Members discussed a range of topics, including government powers to declare transactions as void, protection for UK businesses from international competition and trigger event timelines.

Lords second reading: Thursday 4 February

Members discussed a range of subjects highlighted by the bill, including the growth of skills sets to deal with rapidly changing technologies, increased bureaucracy and the impact on new and existing small businesses

Lord Callanan (Conservative), Parliamentary Under Secretary in the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, opened the debate and responded on behalf of the government.

Speakers included the chair of the National Trading Standards Board and the former chair of the National Security Forum.

Lord Woodley (Labour), non-executive director of UIA (Insurance) Ltd, made his maiden speech, the first speech by a member in the chamber.

National Security and Investment Bill

This bill aims to establish a new statutory regime for government scrutiny of investments for the protection of national security.

Provisions of the regime include:

  • government powers to issue notices to call-in in acquisitions of control over qualifying entities or assets ("trigger events") to undertake a national security assessment
  • duty of the government to publish a statement on usage of call-in notices
  • a mandatory notification system requiring proposed acquirers of certain shares or voting rights in specific entities to obtain government clearance
  • government powers to amend the acquisitions which fall within scope of the mandatory notification system
  • a voluntary notification system to encourage notifications from parties that their trigger event may raise national security concerns
  • remedies to address risks to national security, including sanctions for non-compliance and legal challenges
  • interaction with the Competition and Markets Authority.

Additionally, the bill amends the overseas disclosure gateway in the Enterprise Act 2002 to remove the restriction on UK public authorities to disclose information in connection with a merger investigation.

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