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The UK is at risk of becoming a back door for cyber and national security threats as foreign companies acquire British firms, warn MPs. They urge ministers to be notified of proposed investments that could impact media freedom, access to sensitive data, cybersecurity, and critical supply chains. MPs have expressed concerns over the proposed UAE-backed takeover of the Telegraph newspaper group, highlighting worries about foreign state ownership. The committee's submission to the government also raises concerns about a surge of investment from dictatorships and new threats from China and Russia.
Liam Byrne, the chair of the Commons Business and Trade sub-committee, said it was vital that we do not let our country become a back door' through which our adversaries acquire capabilities that imperil the collective security of either us or our NATO Allies.
The MPs' submission also criticizes the lack of an explicit definition of national security, which creates confusion. They condemn a part of the National Security and Investment (NSI) Act that prohibits disclosing how government decisions are made, calling it a roadblock to scrutiny. The lack of oversight could lead to key transactions with security implications being missed. The US and the EU have recently announced stricter investment checks, while the UK is reforming its investment-screening regime under the NSI Act.
Both the US and the EU have recently announced tougher investment checks. MPs also warned the lack of an explicit definition of national security' was creating confusion.