21 November 2022
Sir Geoffrey Clifton-Brown welcomes decision to block sale of Newport Wafer Fab semiconductors plant to the Chinese-owned firm Nexperia

Sir Geoffrey Clifton-Brown welcomes the Government’s decision to use the National Security and Investment Act 2021 to force Chinese-owned Nexperia to sell off its 86% share in the Newport Wafer Fab semiconductors plant, and asks how the sale will take place and how jobs can be protected.

Sir Geoffrey Clifton-Brown (The Cotswolds) (Con)

Mr Deputy Speaker, it gives me no pleasure whatsoever to say that you will be aware that Mr Speaker granted me an urgent question on 16 July last year begging the Government to use their powers under the Enterprise Act 2002 and the upcoming security Act not to allow the sale to the Chinese-dominated Nexperia company. While there was a different Minister and that was a different time, I welcome my right hon. Friend to the Ministry, in his important job as Secretary of State, and welcome his decision to use the National Security and Investment Act 2021 to block the sale and to force the company to sell off its 86% share in it. Can he give the House any indication: in what way will the sale take place and how are the jobs— as others have said, it is just before Christmas—likely to be protected?

The Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (Grant Shapps)

I thank my hon. Friend, who was key in persuading the Government to take forward the national security and investment legislation. That has been important in this case—definitive, in fact. Although he may have been right at the time, I understand we did not have any powers to block the sale at that time. I therefore congratulate him on his foresight. I do not think we could have done anything other than wait for the powers afforded to us in January and the action that I took very recently.

With regard to the next steps, I am afraid that I am bound by the National Security and Investment Act not to go into terrific detail, other than to refer to what I have already published and made available to the House with regard to the final order. However, there is in essence a process by which the company will report back to me on its plans and, over a period—it may well take several months—the sale of the company will take place.