UK Introduces Amendment to National Security Bill, Expanding Foreign Power Affiliation Requirements

UK Introduces Amendment to National Security Bill, Expanding Foreign Power Affiliation Requirements

Date:

The following amendment to the National Security Bill is aimed at increasing the British state’s ability to identify and possibly thwart hostile foreign influence by requiring all Britons who do business with foreign governments on British soil to register.

This amendment also makes unregistered foreign activity illegal. Here is the amendment:

“Requirement to register foreign activity arrangements:

(1) A person (“P”) who makes a foreign activity arrangement must register the arrangement with the Secretary of State before the end of the period of 10 days beginning with the day on which P makes the arrangement.

(2) A “foreign activity arrangement” is an arrangement with a specified person pursuant to which the specified person directs P—(a) to carry out activities in the United Kingdom, or
(b) to arrange for activities to be carried out in the United Kingdom.

(3) “Specified person” means—
(a) a foreign power specified by the Secretary of State in regulations;
(b) a person, other than a foreign power, specified by the Secretary of State in regulations.

(4) The regulations may specify a person other than a foreign power only if—
(a) the person is not an individual, and
(b) the Secretary of State reasonably believes the person is controlled by a foreign power.

(5) A person is controlled by a foreign power if—

(a) the foreign power holds, directly or indirectly, more than 25% of the shares in the person,
(b) the foreign power holds, directly or indirectly, more than 25% of the voting rights in the person,
(c) the foreign power holds, directly or indirectly, the right to appoint or remove an officer of the person, or
(d) the foreign power has the right to direct or control the person’s activities (in whole or in part).

(6) In subsection (5) “officer”—
(a) in relation to a body corporate, means a director, member of the committee of management, chief executive, manager, secretary or other similar officer of the body, or a person purporting to act in any such capacity;
(b) in relation to a partnership, means a partner or person purporting to act as a partner;
(c) in relation to an unincorporated association other than a partnership, means a person who is concerned in the management or control of the association or purports to act in the capacity of a person so concerned.

(7) The Secretary of State may make regulations specifying a foreign power or a person other than a foreign power only if the Secretary of State considers it reasonably necessary to do so to protect the safety or interests of the United Kingdom.

(8) The requirement in subsection (1) does not apply to a foreign power.

(9) Regulations specifying a foreign power or a person other than a foreign power may provide for subsection (1) to apply, with modifications specified in the regulations, in relation to a foreign activity arrangement made with the specified person before the regulations come into force.

(10) A person who fails to comply with subsection (1) commits an offence if the person—
(a) knows, or
(b) ought reasonably to know, that the arrangement in question is a foreign activity arrangement.”

In a statement, security minister Tom Tugendhat said the scheme embraces “open and transparent engagement with foreign governments”.

“Unfortunately, there are people working in secret to undermine the UK’s democracy and cause harm to our citizens,” he said.

“For years I have advocated for the establishment of a foreign influence registration scheme to deter foreign powers from pursuing their pernicious aims through the covert use of agents and proxies.

“I am delighted that the scheme we are introducing will help ensure our political affairs are protected, whilst embracing open and transparent engagement with foreign governments and entities which we continue to welcome.”

Britons who do not declare their foreign dealings will face a fine and imprisonment of up to 5 years.

This announcement comes only 5 hours after BBC broke the story that up to 30 former UK Royal Air Force pilots have been recruited by China to help train the People’s Liberation Army Air Force.