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U.K. Moves to Add Sweeping New Powers on Terror in Brexit Bill

  • Government seeks new powers to freeze accounts, FCO says
  • Bill marks part of effort to move EU legislation into UK law

Prime Minister Theresa May’s government is seeking sweeping new powers to combat terrorism and weapons proliferation in a bill aimed at giving the U.K. the means to impose sanctions after Brexit as part of broader efforts to move legal power currently under EU law back to Britain.

The proposed Sanctions Bill will ensure the U.K. has the necessary post-Brexit legal powers to “cut off funding for terrorists by making it easier to freeze assets and block access to bank accounts,” as well as “greater flexibility in choosing when and how to introduce new measures,” the Foreign and Commonwealth Office said in a statement.

The bill also means the government would only need reasonable grounds to suspect a person or group of being involved in terrorism in order to freeze their accounts or impose other sanctions.

“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,” Stephen Barclay, economic secretary to the treasury, said.

The U.K. currently implements sanctions against 30 regimes including Russia, North Korea and Iran. Britain has been one of the most forceful European Union members in pushing for sanctions against Syria and Russia.

The new powers will help the U.K. continue to lead the global fight against the so-called Islamic State, according to the statement.

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