The matter was due to be debated in the House of Commons on 4 March 2019, but it was pulled by prime minister Theresa May until an unspecified date.
However, a notices of amendments document, dated ‘up to and including Monday 11 March’, clearly outlines the support the change to the Financial Services bill has.
The key demand being made by the group is for an order in council to be made requiring the government of any crown dependency or BOT that has not introduced a publicly accessible register to do so no later than 31 December 2020.
Across the house
The lead MPs behind the motion are Andrew Mitchell (Conservative), Margaret Hodge (Labour), Tom Tugendhat (Con.), Helen Goodman (Lab.), David Davis (Con.) and Kenneth Clarke (Con.).
Former Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron, Caroline Lucas from the Green Party and Anna Soubry (formerly of the Conservative Party and now a member of the Independent Group) have all put their names behind it.
Among a host of others.
Bristling against parliamentary overreach
When the amendment was first announced in May 2018, Cayman Islands premier Alden McLaughlin said it was “reminiscent of the worst injustices of a bygone era of colonial despotism”.
Shortly before the 4 March, when the debate was cancelled, the chairman of promotional body Guernsey Finance, Lyndon Trott, described it as “misguided and wrong”.
But the manner in which the discussion was pulled left further uncertainty and it is not clear at this stage when, or if, the changes to the bill will be discussed.
The argument against public registers is that they do not contain up-to-date or verified information. There is also the issue of privacy versus the public interest.
Just last week, the crown dependencies were removed from the European Union’s greylist of non-cooperative jurisdictions for tax purposes. This demonstrates that not having a public register is not a barrier to being recognised as a tax compliant jurisdiction.
But whether this has any sway over the 88 MPs remains to be seen.
With the ongoing Brexit disaster, it could be argued that damaging the UK’s relationship with its dependencies and overseas territories may not be the wisest course of action.