(Reuters) – British Finance Minister Rishi Sunak plans to take on new powers to block companies from listing on the London Stock Exchange on national security grounds, The Times reported on Wednesday.
Under the proposed move, the Treasury is expected to lay out a series of scenarios in which the powers could be used, such as reasonable suspicion that a hostile foreign state was seeking to deliberately undermine the reputation of the London Stock Exchange, the Times reported, citing a government official.
A listing could also be blocked if it was judged to potentially help a foreign state more easily access state and commercial secrets, the report added.
Britain’s finance ministry was not immediately available to respond to a Reuters request for comment early on Wednesday.
Sunak is preparing to launch a consultation on the details of the proposal in coming weeks in response to demands from MPs, the newspaper reported.
A report prepared by the foreign affairs parliamentary committee has called on the government to directly block listings, stating that it’s not reasonable for the Financial Conduct Authority to identify and prevent threats to national security, the Times report said.
The proposed move is not designed to block any specific companies, the newspaper said, adding that only a small fraction of planned listings would be referred to the National Security Council for review.
(Reporting by Aakriti Bhalla in Bengaluru; Editing by Richard Pullin)