Fresh criticism of UK MPs for lobbying after free CI trip

| 01/08/2019 | 26 Comments
Cayman News Service
Dame Margaret Hodge (left) and Financial Services Minister Tara Rivers

(CNS): Labour MP Dame Margaret Hodge, a strong advocate for transparency in the British Overseas Territories and a vocal critic of offshore financial centres, has levelled fresh criticism on two Tory MPs who enjoyed a free trip to the Cayman Islands in June, paid for by the local government to the tune of £17,000. Sir Graham Brady and Sir Michael Fallon visited Cayman in June for our constitutional celebrations, which Buzzfeed News described a “lavish junket”.

The two Conservative MPs have said they will support the Cayman government in its fight with the UK over the enforced implementation of beneficial ownership registers. This is a controversial topic in the UK, where Cayman and other offshore financial centres are often accused of facilitating corruption, money laundering, tax evasion and other illicit financial activities resulting from their privacy laws.

In May last year the House of Lords passed the Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Act in the UK, which mandates that all British Overseas Territories with financial services industries, including Cayman, introduce public registers before 2020 or have them imposed via an order in council.

Financial Services Minister Tara Rivers met with Dame Hodge in November 2017 in an effort to persuade her that Cayman meets international standards and is not involved in money laundering. However, the prominent MP appears to be unconvinced.

She told BuzzFeed News, “The only reason for giving these MPs a free trip was to encourage them to thwart and oppose the will of Parliament, where there is a strong majority in favour of open registers of beneficial ownership.” She added, “There is a simple reason for our wanting this transparency. Transparency is a powerful tool in stopping money laundering and tax evasion. All UK MPs should support this move.”

Brady, who until recently was chair of the powerful 1922 Committee of backbench Tories, and Fallon, the former defence secretary, came to Cayman as part of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for the Cayman Islands, as Cayman marked the 60th anniversary of its first constitution. Brady’s wife travelled with him and the members’ register of interest shows that he claimed £10,459 from the public coffers here, while Fallon’s bill was £6,217.99.

Both politicians said clearly when they were here that they would back Cayman in London. Brady told the local media that it was important to make the case for a sensible balance that protects the rights and the safety of individuals who might be exposed to danger from open registers. He also said the UK government needed to recognise the “great steps forward” Cayman had made, as well as its spirit of engagement.

Dame Hodge, the former chair of the UK Public Accounts Committee, said that most people in the UK would be “shocked that two senior members of Parliament accepted expensive free trips to a British tax haven”.

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Comments (26)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Read her wikipedia article. Not very impressive. Rich, entitled and stupid come to mind

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  2. Anonymous says:

    Can we put Tony Travers and Hodge head to head in a TV debate moderated by Jon Snow (not the one from Game of Thrones…. or then again…). I’m sure Cayman 27 will fund their air fares out here to broadcast that!

  3. Anonymous says:

    I’m sure Tara schooled the Dame in the art of a good all expenses paid junket.

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  4. Say it like it is says:

    That seems like a lot of money for a flight and a few nights in a hotel.

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  5. Anonymous says:

    Margaret Hodge should worry about her ability to safely navigate through her own anti-Semitic Labour Party. Blind hate is egregious and a blight on humanity, and yet she continues to clamor on like a broken record, regurgitating the party line for a group that despises her because of her background.

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  6. Anonymous says:

    Really Tara????

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  7. Anonymous says:

    Well Dame whatever, you should perhaps look back in history and see who made Cayman tax free.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Wasn’t the King; no royal on board that ship; that story has been debunked by Queen Elizabeth II herself. We just decided about 110 years ago to tax everything on importation because that was the only way to tax the population of the time so the government finally had some money to spend. There are way too many people who didn’t get the memo that this is a myth.

      • Anonymous says:

        And the locals would trap boats to crash on the rocks so they could steal from them in the “rescue”.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Go on, do expand. And remember the shipwreck story is a myth.

  8. Anonymous says:

    How come the Financial Service Minister is talking about money laundering? I don’t even see in the CAMS Public Registry where she is CAMS certified – please correct me if I am wrong.

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  9. Anonymous says:

    Hey UK bring on the public registers – quit talking about it, just do it.

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  10. Anonymous says:

    Is this the same Margaret Hodge whose multi billion pound family company pays 0.01% in tax? Typical socialist.

    https://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/businesslatestnews/9668396/Margaret-Hodges-family-company-pays-just-0.01pc-tax-on-2.1bn-of-business-generated-in-the-UK.html

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  11. Anonymous says:

    Foolish woman doesn’t know what she’s talking about.

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  12. Anonymous says:

    They still owe us a million pounds that we sent them to help out with the falklands war, at least we should get back some interest on it.

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    • Anonymous says:

      in fairness, as an OT, you’d probably be speaking spanish now if it wasn’t for the protection of HM’s forces. Consider that a back-door tax, you know, like work permits.

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      • Anonymous says:

        Spain made no attempts to retake Cayman after the Treaty of Madrid 1670, at which time, there was no permanent population here. The settlers of Cayman wouldn’t have been speaking Spanish because they never knew it and Spain would never have forced them to learn. Protection is a joke. The UK was never tested in this regard, by Spain or any other regional power. The UK did not even get around to formally connecting us to Jamaica for almost 200 years after that treaty (Cayman Islands Act 1863).

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  13. Anonymous says:

    Dame Hodge would do well to get out of our business. After the EU refuse to re- negotiate Brexit they will be lucky to have a friend in the entire world. The pound has already dropped in value. Scotland and Ireland don’t want much to do with them. They are slowly losing their prestige in the world so she should get off her high horse and start facing reality. By the way I understand is takes three months to get an appointment to see a GP up there. They are not so special anymore!

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    • Barbara says:

      You are so wrong…take it from one who actually lives here. I called the gp surgery at 8 a.m. this mornings and was seen and treated by 9 a.m.
      You need to get your facts straight

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      • Anonymous says:

        From personal experience it can depend on the area of the UK in which you are seeking medical attention. Also, you did not mention whether your example was a medical emergency and whether you went to a private medical facility.

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      • Anonymous says:

        I live part time in the UK over summer months. I asked for NHS GP appointment yesterday at 8.30am and was seen at 11.30am.

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