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Code rights in respect of land connected to leased premises

Part of Telecommunications Infrastructure (Leasehold Property) Bill – in the House of Commons at 2:45 pm on 10th March 2020.

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Photo of John Redwood John Redwood Conservative, Wokingham 2:45 pm, 10th March 2020

I support my right hon. Friend Sir Iain Duncan Smith and my other right hon. and hon. Friends, who have made a strong and cogent case based on national security. As they have argued, there are some absolutes in national security. There are occasions when a risk is such that whatever the commercial or other considerations might be, it is important for that to be put first.

However, I wish to add to their argument. I do not think the commercial and economic situation in the medium term is any different from the national security situation. Indeed, I argue in defence matters and these wider matters that our country cannot say it is secure if it does not have control of the crucial technologies it may need to defend itself and protect itself. Nor can we say that our country is secure—an island trading nation—if we are dependent on countries and suppliers in other parts of the world who may in some future disagreement or, heaven forfend, some conflict no longer be willing to supply us.

It is most important that we have control of that technology with our allies, and that we have the ability to make and to scale up manufacture, should the need arise, if the diplomatic situation around the world worsens. This is just such a situation. These are crucial technologies. These are technologies that people based in the United Kingdom who accept our system and have allegiance to our democracy are quite capable of developing and producing. They are already being produced by people in similar countries with similar purposes and systems who believe in democracy and the international WTO-policed world trading system and who are willing to trade with us in the meantime. I urge the Government—keen as they rightly are on a levelling-up agenda to spread prosperity more widely around the country and keen as they rightly are to get the most out of our new status as an independent country—to understand that our wider national security rests not just on the specific issues of intelligence and the flow of data but on our capability as a nation to control and exploit crucial technologies and our ability, with our strong and confirmed allies, to have that productive capability, come what may.