Sanctions

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 6:06 pm on 22nd September 2022.

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Photo of Jesse Norman Jesse Norman Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office) 6:06 pm, 22nd September 2022

I thank all hon. Members who have spoken in this very interesting debate. It is a testament to the intense interest and passion that the Russian invasion of Ukraine has raised in this House that, even on topics as apparently technical as this one, we could have such a vigorous and energetic debate.

Let me pick up as many as I can of the points that have been raised. My hon. Friend Kevin Hollinrake spoke truly about how highly effective sanctions have been so far, as evidenced by the Treasury Committee. I would say that it is more like turning off a light, but the danger is that the dimmer switch may be activated the other way. That is one thing that we are constantly dealing with. I will say a little about it more generally, partly in response to the shadow Minister, Stephen Doughty, because this is an evolving situation.

My hon. Friend the Member for Thirsk and Malton mentioned Bill Browder, a very interesting and brilliant man whom I have met. The idea about opening books is a very interesting one. We have a lot of interesting ideas in this House; one of the strengths of the open parliamentary debate that makes our system so much stronger than the Russian alternative is that we are willing rapidly to evolve our response to public opinion and to such suggestions, for which I thank my hon. Friend.

My hon. Friend also made a point about crypto that I think was right. It is important to say that crypto-assets are treated in exactly the same way as any financial asset. We therefore expect these measures to be as widely respected by entities, even if enforcement proves to require further work.