Rebel Conservative MPs have joined with the opposition to force the Government to impose beneficial ownership registers on the BVI, Cayman and Bermuda and other British Overseas Territories. This resurrects an initiative of David Cameron which Theresa May had put on the back-burner, but this U-turn by May demonstrates that the Government needs to save all its political capital for Brexit and is prey to random attacks on other issues. This is arguably bad law by a weak government, a constitutionally uncomfortable interference in the government of the BOTs, but the development is already being lauded by anti-corruption and some anti-poverty campaigners and those who take the other view, in defence of privacy, should take a moment to consider that this only extends offshore what now exists onshore in the EU and focus instead on how legitimate privacy and security can be protected within a world where the tide of transparency is unstoppable (Jersey, Guernsey, Isle of Man will be next).
The amendment would require the UK government to take steps to provide that British Overseas Territories establish publicly accessible registers of the beneficial ownership of companies. It does not include Britain's crown dependencies, Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man.