A group of Tory and Labour backbenchers are increasingly confident they can force Theresa May to introduce public ownership registers in Britain’s overseas territories in an attempt to prevent them from being used to hide “dirty money”.
Nineteen Conservative MPs have signed an amendment scheduled for debate in the Commons on Tuesday – theoretically a sufficient number to defeat the government, which has halted plans to implement a transparency measure originally proposed by David Cameron and George Osborne in 2013.
The Labour MP Margaret Hodge, who is one of the two principal backers of the amendment, said: “There is a spectrum of activity that starts with tax avoidance and then quickly goes on to money laundering and organised crime. Britain and its overseas territories have become the jurisdiction of choice for dirty money because of the secrecy of our offshore ownership laws.”
More than half of the offshore companies referred to in the