Campaigners in last-ditch attempt to save vulture funds bill

By staff writers
16 Mar 2010

Supporters of the Jubilee Debt Campaign (JDC) are making a last-minute attempt to ensure that the vulture funds bill becomes law.

The Bill, which would restrict the activities of companies that buy up the debts of poor countries and then sue for huge profits, was held up on Friday (12 March) after a sole Tory MP objected after the Bill’s third reading.

The JDC is now encouraging supporters to email the Leader of the Commons, Harriet Harman before 10.00pm today (16 March), asking her to reschedule the Bill for Thursday (18 March), as two days’ notice needs to be given.

The call comes after the Shadow Chancellor, George Osborne, said that the Conservative Party would support the Bill if it is rescheduled for Thursday.

The bill, known more formally as the Debt Relief (Developing Countries) Bill, had received cross-party support and was expected to pass last week until one Tory MP shouted his objection.

The Tory was unidentified at the time, and resisted calls to make himself known. He has now turned out to be Christopher Chope, the MP for Christchurch. Chope had previously spent two hours trying to “talk out” the Bill (using up time by talking to try to ensure there was no time for the Bill).

But Osborne says that Chope acted without the support of his party’s leadership.

“The Bill could now still go through Parliament on Thursday,” explained JDC’s Jonathan Stevenson, “But only if Harriet Harman MP makes time for it in the next few hours”.

He urged supporters to “send Harriet Harman an urgent email right now, and ask your friends to do so as well”.

The Bill, which was proposed by Labour MPs Andrew Gwynne and Sally Keeble, has been backed by Archbishop Desmond Tutu, along with Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and former Tanzanian President Benjamin William Mkapa.

Supporters of the Bill can email Harriet Harman through the Jubilee Debt Campaign’s website - http://www.jubileedebtcampaign.org.uk/?lid=5528

[Ekk/1]

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