Tuesday, 20 March 2018

Trying to follow the funny money

The opposition did follow up on Jeremy Corbyn's accusation of links between Russian businessmen laundering dubious gains in London and Conservative MPs. However, the means chosen - an Urgent Question in the House yesterday - proved unsatisfactory. Unlike a debate, which would allow members to speak at reasonable length expounding evidence, they were limited to fairly simple questions. Speaker Bercow has been increasingly strict in this regard, cutting members off in mid-flow if they transgress. The result was a bland statement from the minister, followed by bland answers to opposition questions and a series of helpful (possibly planted?) questions from the government's supporters.

Even so, there could have been more probing questions. Why did nobody follow up Ben Wallace's failure to answer SNP's Stewart Hosie's question about Companies House?
when will he finally fix the loopholes at Companies House, where to all intents and purposes absolutely no due diligence is done when a new company is registered?
- not to mention the lack of policing of failure to lodge accounts on time.

And why did only one MP ask for legislation to open up the murky area of property ownership? We need a proper debate followed by government action, and soon.

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