Point of Order

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 3:37 pm on 4th March 2019.

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Photo of Andrew Mitchell Andrew Mitchell Conservative, Sutton Coldfield 3:37 pm, 4th March 2019

Thank you, Mr Speaker. You may recall that on 1 May 2018, in new clause 6 of the Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Bill, this House resolved that the overseas territories must establish registers of beneficial ownership by the end of 2020. It has recently come to our notice from statements made by a Foreign Office Minister in the other place that it is the Government’s intention arbitrarily to extend that date by no less than three years to the end of 2023, in a flagrant breach of what was agreed by this House.

That is made yet worse by the fact that, at the urging of the Foreign Office, Dame Margaret Hodge, with whom I tabled new clause 6, only agreed to extend the date to the end of 2020 in view of the terrible damage done to many of the overseas territories in recent hurricanes and storms. The Hansard report of our proceedings makes that absolutely clear. Mr Speaker, how can this House seek your protection from the egregious sleight of hand being proposed by the Foreign Office?