Clause 25 - Interim orders

Part of National Security and Investment Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 11:00 am on 8th December 2020.

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Photo of Nadhim Zahawi Nadhim Zahawi Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy), The Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health and Social Care 11:00 am, 8th December 2020

I am happy to come back to the hon. Lady on that point.

Clause 28 requires that orders made under this Bill be served on anyone required to comply with them and anyone with whom the call-in notice was served. The clause also places certain requirements on the contents of orders or accompanying explanatory material as well as giving the Secretary of State the power to exclude sensitive information. The clause sets out the process that the Secretary of State must follow after making an interim order or final order. This provides the clarity and predictability that we all want for businesses and investors.

First, clause 25 requires the Secretary of State to serve the order on everyone who needs to be aware of it, including anyone who is required to comply with it as well as anyone on whom the call-in notice was served. That will provide clarity for affected parties. The Secretary of State is also required to serve the order on such other persons as he considers appropriate—for example, a regulator who is considering the trigger event might need to be aware of the terms of an order.

Secondly, the clause sets out the information that must be contained within an order or its accompanying explanatory material, including the reasons for making the order, the trigger event to which the order relates, the date on which the order comes into force, and the possible consequences of not complying with the order. That will help to ensure that parties are clear about why the Secretary of State has made the order and what they must now do as a result.

Thirdly, the clause enables the Secretary of State to exclude information from a copy of an order or its accompanying explanatory material that he considers commercially sensitive or national security sensitive. That will help to ensure that the process of serving orders does not negatively impact on parties’ commercial interest or on our national security interest. The clause makes provision for notifying those affected by variations and revocations of orders, with a view to ensuring that they are properly communicated in a timely manner.

I hope that hon. Members feel reassured that clauses 25 to 28 will frustrate hostile actors and enable the Government to work with business in executing this regime, that there are safeguards to ensure that orders do not stay in place longer than is necessary or proportionate, and that all relevant parties will have the information they need in relation to orders. I therefore commend the clauses to the Committee.