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

If I may say so, I do not think that it is possible to move faster than having a debate within two days—in fact, a day and a half—of Parliament’s resumption after the interval following the unfortunate passing of Her late Majesty the Queen. The rules apply. As a further rebuttal to the shadow Minister’s point, my reply to the suggestion that something can somehow be made perfect, as though it were set in stone forever, is “Of course not.” This is a rapidly evolving situation.

My hon. Friend Bob Seely talked about lawfare. He is exactly right that some very well-heeled and well-resourced individuals are using all their resources, as corporates and as individuals, to try to thwart us. That is why the response must continue to evolve, and it will.

On the point raised by Richard Foord, the Office of Financial Sanctions Implementation in the Treasury has more than doubled in this financial year. The response that is being made is being taken very seriously, and there is a continuous effort to build sanctions capability across Government.

I take the point that the hon. Gentleman made about advice for the higher education sector. I can also tell him that a very effective team in the Department for International Trade is helping businesses in this country to deal with this issue, which, again, we take extremely seriously.

My hon. Friend the Member for Isle of Wight, when referring to lawfare, mentioned Freshfields. I was sorry to hear the name mentioned, given the respect in which that firm is held across the country. I wish it were not true, if it is—I hope it is not—but it was interesting that my hon. Friend mentioned it.