National Security and Investment Bill — Clause 61 — Annual Report — 26 Apr 2021 at 23:30
The majority of MPs voted not to allow the exclusion of information from published reports on Government decisions to intervene in corporate acquisitions, mergers or investments deemed to risk national security, however the rejected proposal was linked to a requirement to generally publish more information.
The motion rejected in this vote was:
- That this House disagrees with Lords amendment 11
Lords amendment 11 stated:
- Page 36, line 15, at end insert “, except for any confidential annex prepared under subsection (2A)”
The amendment would have impacted clause 61 of the Bill which provided for an annual report on expenditure and other elements of the operation of the law enabling the Government to intervene in corporate acquisitions, mergers or investments deemed to risk national security. The clause provided for the report to be laid before each House of Parliament, the amendment provided for a confidential annex to be withheld.
Subsection (2A), specifying the confidential annex in question, was not in the Bill at the time of the vote. Amendment 15 proposed a subsection 2A. That amendment stated:
- Page 36, line 33, at end insert—
- “(m) in respect of final notifications given, and final orders made, varied or revoked—
- (i) a summary of the decision of the Secretary of State under section 26(1), and
- (ii) a summary provided by the Security Services of any national security risk assessment provided under section 26(3)(a)(ii) relating to each decision under section 26(1)
- Where the Secretary of State considers that publication of any information listed in subsection (2)(m) would be contrary to the interests of national security, those details may be excluded from publication and instead must be included in a confidential annex to the report provided to the Intelligence and Security Committee of Parliament on the same day that the rest of the report is laid before each House of Parliament.
Without subsection 2A making it into the Bill the amendment which was the subject of this vote would not have had any effect. A nonsense and inoperative element of law would have been introduced. Those voting No could be considered to have introduced a nonsense and inoperative law, however an opportunity to support the linked amendment was to be forthcoming, so the issue could have been resolved.
Following this vote Lords amendment 15 was rejected without a vote. Had this vote gone the other way one might expect amendment 15 to have been passed, as otherwise the law would have been left in an inconsistent and nonsensical state. It appears reasonable to interpret this vote in light of the content of the related amendment, amendment 15.
Those voting Aye voted against any reference to a confidential annex, and therefore against a procedure for dealing with it, and not to require potentially sensitive information on the details of decisions, and advice, to be included the report.
Those voting No voted for there, potentially, to be a confidential annex, and for it to be excluded from publication, but for more information to be in the report than would otherwise be required.
Voting No (for the Lords amendment) gives more transparency as more information is required to be in public report, even though there was to be a provision for some of the additional information to be withheld from the public on national security grounds.
There is an expectation that papers laid before Parliament will be published promptly.
-  Parliament's webpage on the National Security and Investment Bill, Parliament.uk
-  Explanatory notes to the National Security and Investment Bill , 11 November 2020, Parliament.uk
-  Lords amendments to the National Security and Investment Bill, 23 April 2021, Parliament.uk
-  Clause 61 of the National Security and Investment Bill, as amended in committee, 16 March 2021, Parliament.uk
-  Guide to Laying Papers, House of Commons Journal Office, September 2022, Parliament.uk
Votes by party, red entries are votes against the majority for that party.
What is Tell? '+1 tell' means that in addition one member of that party was a teller for that division lobby.
What are Boths? An MP can vote both aye and no in the same division. The boths page explains this.
What is Turnout? This is measured against the total membership of the party at the time of the vote.
|Party||Majority (Aye)||Minority (No)||Both||Turnout|
|Con||357 (+2 tell)||1||0||98.9%|
|Lab||0||193 (+2 tell)||0||98.0%|
|Julian Lewis||New Forest East||whilst Con||no|