When it comes to tackling dirty money and tax avoidance through the UK this government talks a good game.
Since 2016, Conservative Prime Ministers have promised to introduce new rules to stop the rich and powerful using UK companies and property to hide their money and dodge taxes. A proposed economic crime bill would be a step in the right direction. On Tuesday, Boris Johnson told the House of Commons that he was still planning to introduce these measures.
But behind the scenes things might be different.
A government minister, Lord Agnew, resigned this week saying that the government isn’t doing enough to tackle fraud. The former minister also claimed that Boris Johnson’s government is dropping this promised economic crime bill.
In response to these claims, we’ve mobilised our partners to find out what’s going on.
The Conservative MP Kevin Hollinrake secured an emergency debate on the issue in the House of Commons. During the debate, the government’s own anti-corruption champion, John Penrose MP, claimed that dropping the economic crime bill “would be about as popular as a cup of cold sick”. You can watch the full debate here (the debate starts at 12.38).
We told the Guardian that it was wrong to kick anti-corruption legislation into the long grass yet again. We pointed out that British companies can still be used to funnel dirty money through the UK.
It is clear that it will go down very badly with the public if the government fails to act. Over 117,000 people have signed our petition calling for action.
If the bill is dropped it suggests that the government has something to hide.
Rest assured that we will continue to fight and mobilise our allies, the media and supportive MPs.