MPs show support for vulture bill
Arriving straight from the divided party-politics of Prime Minister's Questions, MPs came to express their support for Andrew Gwynne MP’s Private Members’ Bill. Speakers from each of the main parties outlined the urgent need for cross-party support to bring about this legislation.
Photos: Nick Ward/Jubilee Debt Campaign
Nigel Evans, Conservative MP, spoke of the moral outrage felt by MPs aware of the operations of Vulture Funds. Gareth Thomas, Minister for International Development, expressed the government’s support for the Bill and outlined the case for its passing into law. Lembit Opik, Lib Dem MP, made clear that MPs from all parties will need to pull together if this bill is to be passed on 26 February.
MPs’ speeches were followed by a few words from The High Commissioner of Mozambique. His emphasis on the life-saving investments that debt relief enables were followed by Nick Dearden, director of JDC, who explained how far this campaign has come in the last year.
The Debt Relief (Developing Countries) Bill aims to end a situation in which companies use UK courts to sue the world’s poorest for the proceeds of debt relief. By ending a situation in which defaulted debts can be bought at hugely discounted rates by Vulture Funds that then sue for the full amount with interest, the Bill would protect millions of pounds of development money for countries which have had their debts cancelled.
The success of the reception begins two weeks of campaigning to ensure that at least 100 MPs turn out to vote on the 26 February. With 184 signatures to the EDM on the regulation of vulture funds we can feel confident but we cannot relax. Turning this support into votes on the 26th will require real pressure from constituents and sponsors of the Bill.