Clause 48 - Enforcement through civil proceedings

National Security and Investment Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 3:15 pm on 8th December 2020.

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Question proposed, That the clause stand part of the Bill.

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

The regime relies on parties complying with information notices and attendance notices, and with interim orders and final orders. Those are crucial levers that the Secretary of State will use to identify, assess and address national security risks, so it is vital that he has appropriate powers to ensure that a person who is given such an order or notice complies with the requirements as set out.

The clause provides the Secretary of State with the power to bring civil proceedings for an injunction or other remedy to require compliance. The power applies whether or not the person is in the UK. Failure to comply with an order made by the court in those circumstances is likely to be considered contempt of court. We should not forget that any failure to obey an information notice or attendance notice, for example, could result in the Secretary of State having insufficient information to decide whether to call in an acquisition or carry out an effective national security assessment. Breaching the requirements of an interim order or final order may undermine the assessment process or harm national security.

Above all, I hope that the Committee will agree that the clause further strengthens the Secretary of State’s enforcement powers, playing a key role in ensuring the efficacy of the regime.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause 48 accordingly ordered to stand part of the Bill.