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Fury as UK Government blocks Bill aimed at seizing Russian assets in order to help rebuild Ukraine

24 Feb 2023 3 minute read
Chris Bryant in the House of Commons

The UK Government has prevented a Bill aimed at seizing Russian assets in order to support Ukraine from getting a second reading in the Commons.

Rhondda MP’s Sir Chris Bryant said he was “astounded” and “ furious at the Government’s decision to object to his private members Bill.

Responding to the objection, the former Labour Minister said: “I am genuinely astounded by the way the Government has responded and called down this Bill today. To be frank I am not just astounded I am furious about it.

“But just in case the Russian Federation were to think that this House, this Parliament, or this country is wavering in its determination to see Russia fail in its illegal war, or just in case Putin thinks this signals a lack of determination by this House or this country to make Russia pay for the rebuilding of Ukraine, is it in order for me to assert that we are all on the same side in this House in relation to this war?”

After claiming he would “continue to press this”, Sir Chris claimed the Government would “end up introducing something very similar, very soon”.


The Rhondda MP’s comments raised the hackles of Tory grandee, Sir Christopher Chope, who said: “I don’t think I have ever heard such an inappropriate comment from a senior Member of this House.

“He knows jolly well what the rules are. He only printed his Bill on Thursday. There is no explanatory notes in relation to it, and he is expecting his Bill to be able to take priority over all the other Bills just because he thinks a lot of himself and he thinks he has got a good cause.

“Lots of us have got good causes but we don’t argue the toss with the rules.”

Point of order

Raising a point of order at the start of a Friday sitting, Sir Chris Bryant had told the Commons: “I gather that the Government’s briefing to the press overnight says that the reason that they might object is because it is not suitable for such a measure to be introduced in a private member’s Bill, even though it has cross-party support from lots of Conservative members and chairs of two prominent select committees, both of whom are Conservatives.”

Sir Chris called on the Deputy Speaker to clarify the Bill was “perfectly in order” and that such Bills had been used to introduce similar measures in the past.

Deputy Commons Speaker Dame Rosie Winterton said the Bill was “orderly” and added: “It is not appropriate for me to offer a view about whether a private member’s Bill is an appropriate vehicle for his objectives, that is a matter for the House. But I can confirm that such Bills have been used for a variety of purposes as he describes and obviously, we will wait to see what happens later.”

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Another Richard
Another Richard
1 year ago

Sir Christopher vs Sir Chris. Sir Christopher, for once, makes more sense: big issues such as seizure of assets shouldn’t depend on the vagaries of the arcane system of Private Members’ Bills. But the Govt should certainly act decisively and soon on this.

Rhufawn Jones
Rhufawn Jones
1 year ago

How about seizing assets of tories who misclaim expenses and commit tax fraud and theft, and use it to give a pay-rise to care workers?

1 year ago
Reply to  Rhufawn Jones

Not just the Tories.There are many cases of fraud in nearly every political party in the UK. Being a bit selective there!

Dafydd Huw
Dafydd Huw
1 year ago

What about recovering funds paid to Tory MPs from Russian “private citizens”, who just happen to be very wealthy with no auditable source of their original wealth?

Ernie The Smallholder
Ernie The Smallholder
1 year ago

It just shows the wide suspicion that the UK Tories support the Putin regime and want to see the end of an independent Ukraine. Putin IS a Tory (a fascist to anybody else).

It is the same policy they have for Cymru and Scotland.

The same policy they had 100 years ago against the Irish people’s demand for independence and today keeping control of Northern Ireland.

They are imperialists.

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