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Government publishes plans for post-Brexit sanctions legislation

2 min read

The Government has unveiled a new bill to allow the UK to impose sanctions against people and regimes after Brexit. 

Financial and economic sanctions, when they are not set up at United Nations level, are currently negotiated and implemented through the European Union.

Ministers said the Sanctions Bill would make it easier to freeze assets by changing the threshold for such a move to “reasonable grounds to suspect the person or group is or has been involved in terrorism and that sanctions are an appropriate action”.

The current system requires the Government to “reasonably believe” someone is or has been involved in terrorism and that the asset freezes are “necessary to protect the public”.

Stephen Barclay, the Economic Secretary to the Treasury, said: “These new powers will help us keep the British public safer from terrorist attacks by keeping money out of the hands of those wishing to cause us harm. 

“Our counter terrorist financing proposals will make it easier for law enforcement and government to impose sanctions on those that present a threat to our national or international security.”

Today’s plans – which also call for an annual review of sanctions and give those affected the right to challenge – come after a nine-week consultation on the UK’s system after it leaves the EU.

The Government currently has in place more than 30 sanctions regimes, including against Russia, al Qaeda, North Korea, Iran and Daesh.

Foreign Office minister Alan Duncan said: “The new Sanctions Bill will ensure that when the UK leaves the European Union, we retain the ability to impose, update and lift sanctions regimes, both to comply with our international obligations and in pursuit of our foreign policy and national security objectives.

“This will enable us to impose sanctions as appropriate either alone or with partners in the EU and around the world, to take targeted action against countries, organisations and individuals who contravene international law, commit or finance terrorism or threaten international peace and security.” 

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