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 would rather not, because I have not much time, but let me just say this. My hon. Friend talked about the extension of designation, and this makes the point about the evolving nature of the threat. It is important to get the sanctions in quickly, but as the response evolves, so we must evolve it, and that is what we have done. Being associated with a designated person now includes obtaining financial benefit or other material benefit, or being an immediate family member, which means a wife, a husband, a civil partner, a parent or step-parent, a child or stepchild, a sibling or step-sibling, a niece or nephew, an aunt or uncle, or a grandparent or a grandchild. That is an example of the response evolving as my hon. Friend would have wished.

Alyn Smith rightly drew attention to the slippery nature of what we are dealing with. I have been highlighting that in my speech. He talked about the danger of laundering energy. There are technically difficult questions to address about how that is to be characterised, especially when, as it were, forms of energy are changed.

The hon. Gentleman talked about proper tracking through the overseas territories. He will be aware that these rules apply in the overseas territories by Order in Council, in the same way that we would apply them here. I think he erred slightly in talking about the legitimacy of sanctions in part depending on the assets seized; the legitimacy of sanctions lies in the fact that we are fighting an aggressive nation that is seeking to overturn our way of life and the foundations of liberal democracy, and I do not think any further legitimacy is required for that to be a worthwhile thing for us to do.

My hon. Friend Mark Eastwood raised the important issue of Alunet, in his constituency. I thank him for doing so, and I thank him for writing to me in advance with the details. I understand the sense of those at Alunet of the loss that they appear to have incurred, and also the concern that they are feeling. I will be writing to my hon. Friend specifically about that issue.

Let me now come to the questions raised by the hon. Member for Cardiff South and Penarth. He asked why so many changes and amendments were needed. It is, of course, because the first instinct in a war situation is to get sanctions on the books as quickly as possible. We know that they have been effective because the Treasury Committee has reminded us of that, and we have plenty of other evidence that it is the case. As I have said, however, as the situation evolves so we need to evolve the response, and as the concerns about the humanitarian impact and unfairness evolve, the sanctions picture inevitably becomes not merely more widespread and more expensive, but more complex—and it is right that that should be so.

The hon. Gentleman mentioned a letter that he had written. Obviously the process has been disturbed by the abeyance of Government and the funeral of Her Majesty, but I will ensure that that letter is sent. He also talked about resourcing. I have referred to the increase in the size of OFSI, and that is matched by the seriousness with which this issue is taken across Government. The hon. Gentleman raised a series of other, more technical issues, and I shall be happy to write to him about those in more detail.

I invite the House to support these motions.

Question put and agreed to.

Resolved,

That the Russia (Sanctions) (EU Exit) (Amendment) (No. 11) Regulations 2022 (SI, 2022, No. 792), a copy of which was laid before this House on 14 July, be approved.

Resolved,

That the Russia (Sanctions) (EU Exit) (Amendment) (No. 12) Regulations 2022 (SI, 2022, No. 801), dated 14 July 2022, a copy of which was laid before this House on 18 July, be approved.—(Jesse Norman.)

That the Russia (Sanctions) (EU Exit) (Amendment) (No. 13) Regulations 2022 (SI, 2022, No. 814), dated 14 July 2022, a copy of which was laid before this House on 18 July, be approved.— (Jesse Norman.)