The UK government has been urged to place a total ban on exporting luxury goods to Russia to target the “Mayfair lifestyle” enjoyed by President Vladimir Putin and his inner circle.

Labour’s Nick Thomas-Symonds said sanctions should be placed on high-end jewellery and designer clothing.

Government ministers have vowed to “use all the tools at our disposal” to target oligarchs.

But they are facing calls to extend sanctions.

Since Russia invaded Ukraine last week, the UK has frozen the bank accounts of some wealthy individuals, including Mr Putin and some of those linked to him.

It has also banned Russian airline Aeroflot from landing its planes in the UK, and excluded several banks from the UK’s financial system.

The UK’s Levelling-Up Secretary, Michael Gove, is exploring the possibility of seizing UK property owned by Russian oligarchs with links to Mr Putin.

The BBC understands Mr Gove raised the idea with cabinet colleagues last week, as part of a range of possible further sanctions, on trade and visas, but no final decision has been made.

Recent research by campaign group Transparency International suggests £1.5bn worth of UK property has been bought by Russians accused of corruption or links to the Kremlin since 2106. Nearly £430m worth is in the City of Westminster, while £283m is in Kensington and Chelsea.

Conservative MP Tom Tugendhat, who chairs the Commons Foreign Affairs Committee, tweeted on Thursday: “We have flats that need seizing. Now.”

The Liberal Democrats are calling for oligarch-owned properties to be seized and turned into temporary accommodation for Ukrainian refugees.

Meanwhile, the authorities in France and Germany have seized super yachts owned by Russian tycoons Igor Sechin and Alisher Usmanov.

Image source, Reuters

Image caption,

Jaguar is among the car-makers which have halted deliveries to Russia

Speaking in the House of Commons, Labour MP Nick Thomas-Symonds, the opposition’s spokesman on international trade, said current UK sanctions did not go far enough, calling for a “total ban on the export of luxury goods” to Russia… so that Putin and his inner circle cannot live a Mayfair lifestyle in Moscow”.

He added that, “whether it is on clothing, on jewellery, on diamonds”, the UK should “get a comprehensive ban in place to stop Putin and his inner circle living in luxury while barbaric, evil acts are perpetrated against the people of Ukraine”.

International Trade Secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan did not commit to such a move, but said: “We will continue to work across government to make sure that we have our UK powers… to tighten the screws so that Putin and his regime will find it more and more difficult to sustain their military campaigns, but also that they will no longer have access to their funds.”

“We will continue to use all the tools at our disposal to make sure that Putin understands fully the absolutely outrageous behaviour that he’s perpetrating.”

Russia was Europe’s fifth largest retail market in 2021, valued at £337.2bn.

But, since the invasion of Ukraine started, sportswear brand Nike has said it cannot guarantee delivery to Russian customers, while fashion house Burberry has paused shipments, saying it is “difficult to fulfil orders” currently.

Car-makers Jaguar Land Rover, Aston Martin and Rolls-Royce have halted deliveries of vehicles to Russia due to the conflict.