International Investment - Statement

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 3:37 pm on 17th October 2017.

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Photo of Lord King of Bridgwater Lord King of Bridgwater Conservative 3:37 pm, 17th October 2017

In general, I welcome my noble friend’s announcement that the Government intend to act in this area. However, I have one concern. In consulting on possible amendments to the international investment arrangements, we notice what happened when the pound suddenly weakened and overseas investors took the opportunity to take over UK companies. I worry about what will happen in the interim, before any new changes are made. I have felt for some time that these changes need to happen, and if companies see that the rules may change for them quite soon, we may find that it pre-empts people into taking action now.

I also note from his Statement that the Secretary of State has been busy, helpfully, talking on the telephone to Airbus and Bombardier. I suggest that he makes one more telephone call to the chairman of Boeing, to say that that great company, which we much admire and with which we in this country have had very good relationships hitherto, has not been helped at all by this unfortunate action it has taken. The best thing it could possibly do now, in recognition of the complications it has introduced, is to withdraw the action it has taken and enable the companies to go forward in this new arrangement, which I greatly welcome.