Cameron opposed 'vulture fund' bill

By Jonathan Bartley
March 15, 2010

New evidence has been given to us about David Cameron's true feelings regarding the 'vulture fund' bill.

On Friday we reported on chaotic scenes in the House of Commons, when an unknown Tory (now in hiding) effectively killed off Andrew Gwynne’s Debt Relief (Developing Countries) Bill by shouting out an objection.

There was huge interest in the story, being retweeted 48 times. The Guardian and Independent also picked it up the next day.

As a result, a constituent of David Cameron’s has now sent us a letter which the Tory leader sent to him, with regard to the vulture fund bill.

Campaigners are currently calling on the leader of the opposition to clarify which MP objected to the bill, and his party's view of the objection. The Conservative Party have insisted that their front bench are in support of it. However, the letter we have been given, dated 23rd February, shows that Cameron was opposed to the bill just 17 days before the ‘rogue’ Tory scuppered it.

It is possible perhaps that Cameron feels his objections to the bill were dealt with at committee stage. However, the reasons that Cameron gives, seem to suggest that he is opposed to it in principle, rather than simply in detail. It should be noted that he also gets the name of bill wrong, referring to a similar bill in the 2008-2009 Parliamentary session, rather than the current bill.

This is what he wrote to his constituent on 23rd Feb 2010:

"Thank you for contacting me about distressed-debt or ‘vulture’ funds.

"I share your concern about the ability of people in highly-indebted poor countries to access essential services and am grateful for your comments on this matter.

“While well-intentioned, I fear the Developing Country Debt (Restriction of Recovery) Bill (sic) could ultimately hamper the development efforts it seeks to support. If this bill were to become law, the overly proscriptive conditions attached to the recovery of sovereign debt could cause the secondary debt market to become illiquid. This would make much-needed investment in the developing world even scarcer.”

Many questions still remain unanswered. What are Cameron's feelings now? Has he changed his view? If so, why? If not, is he at odds with his front bench team on this? And most crucially, who was it who 'objected' in the House on Friday, and what does Cameron really think about the objection?

It's important he answers because this has implications for the lives of millions of vulnerable people, and of course, will reveal a lot about about how Cameron really feels with regard to the value and importance of those lives.

You can send a letter to Cameron about this here:

Keywords:vulture funds
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