The Prime Minister says the UK Government will "look again" at the sale of Newport's Wafer Fab factory to a Chinese-owned company - contradicting what the Welsh Secretary said earlier and what his official spokesman said yesterday.Boris Johnson told MPs on the Commons Liaison Committee that he'd asked his National Security Adviser Sir Stephen Lovegrove to examine the terms of the deal.
He added that the Welsh Government had "rather sweetly asked us to deal with it."
However, the Welsh Government immediately rejected the Prime Minister's claim.
A spokesperson said: “The Welsh Government has not made a request to the UK Government to review the takeover of Newport Wafer Fab.”
Earlier on Wednesday, Welsh Secretary Simon Hart said he was “satisfied” that security risks had been fully taken into account in the takeover of a Welsh semi-conductor factory by a Chinese-owned company.
Simon Hart said that officials and ministers took “the security elements of the takeover or purchase [of Newport Wafer Fab] …very seriously.”
However, the Chair of the Foreign Affairs Select Committee, Tom Tugendhat, has raised security concerns about the takeover with the UK Government and has suggested it should be reviewed.
The deal said to be worth £63m, will see Wafer Fab taken over by a Dutch semiconductor firm, Nexperia, which is in turn owned by a Chinese technology business. It has been welcomed by the sector and the Welsh Government for securing 400 jobs.
Yesterday the prime minister’s official spokesman said, “We will continue to monitor the situation closely and we won't hesitate to use our powers under the Enterprise Act, but we don't consider it appropriate to intervene at this time.
"We've been in close contact with Newport Wafer fab. We're not able to obviously comment on the detail of commercial transactions or national security assessments but we have considered this issue thoroughly.”
On Wednesday, Simon Hart told reporters that, while “anything with involves a Chinese elements is bound to raise questions” that the due diligence carried out by the Business Enterprise and Industrial Strategy department was “pretty penetrating and pretty thorough.”
He said that the Wales Office had taken part in that process but that BEIS had made the decisions.
“I think they took very seriously the security elements of the takeover or purchase, however you describe it.
"And I think that they've measured the potential risk that the potential risk against the potential downsides of that business collapsing and the impact on jobs that would be caused, and that's why we reached the decision that we did it.”
“The recommendation to BEIS and therefore to us was that we've considered the risk and we think that the way this is going forward is fine. So, as I say I didn't do that work myself, but I'm satisfied that what was done.”