Government Hiding Behind The EU Won't Wash

It has been four months since the Magnitsky amendment was passed in the House, yet the Government have done absolutely nothing to implement the legislation. The Government are hiding behind the EU but Lithuania is an EU member-state and is pushing through unilateral sanctions targeting Russia individuals (which go beyond a travel ban) on basis of Magnitsky legislation.

Stephen Kinnock: I absolutely join the Minister in welcoming the so-called Magnitsky amendment to the sanctions Act, but in the last few years, five other countries have passed and implemented Magnitsky legislation, which has led to 79 named Russian citizens being sanctioned. Those countries are the USA, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Canada. It has been four months since the Magnitsky amendment was passed in this House, yet the Government have done absolutely nothing to implement the legislation. Will the Minister please explain why the Government are so reluctant to take action and implement the Magnitsky amendment?

Mr Wallace: We are not reluctant, and I am interested in the hon. Gentleman’s examples that are European member states, because he will know, with his European background, that sanctions are implemented at a European level. As a member of the European Union, we have always sought to implement our sanctions as the European Union. We stand ready to use the new powers on sanctions after Brexit, where we can.

Stephen Kinnock: rose—

Mr Wallace: I am sure the hon. Gentleman will be able to give me a legal clarification.

Stephen Kinnock: I would respectfully point out to the Minister that Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania are member states of the European Union.

Mr Wallace: Maybe the hon. Gentleman can explain how together they can lay a sanction, whereas the policy has always been at a European level—

Stephen Kinnock: They are EU member states; they’ve done it.

Mr Wallace: Well, let’s see.