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New Clause 16 — Names and addresses of members of companies: company application

Part of Orders of the Day – in the House of Commons at 4:15 pm on 18th October 2006.

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Photo of Austin Mitchell Austin Mitchell Labour, Great Grimsby 4:15 pm, 18th October 2006

I am grateful to my hon. Friend, who was of course in the investigative journalism trade—and a very good trade it is, too. I was in the electronic media, so we did not do any investigation. We just shouted at people, which was perhaps a mistake; perhaps we conducted ourselves at too low a level.

The principle is absolutely clear. We cannot accept either of the new clauses, because under new clause 17 the onus on companies is replaced by an onus on shareholders to say, "I am investing in something murky, please do not disclose my name." That does not apply only to people who want to hide from possible persecution. The ability to remain anonymous, which would be checked by my amendment No. 758, is also used by tax evaders, money launderers and criminals. Will they, too, on the same principle, have the ability to hide? Or will they put all their money in Huntingdon Life Sciences and then hide themselves?