David Cameron says Overseas Territories not tax havens while Overseas Premiers meet in Gibraltar. Coincidence?

Yesterday media in Bermuda, the Cayman Islands and Gibraltar were reporting that the leaders of the British Overseas Territories are meeting in Gibraltar this week. It didn’t seem worth mentioning at the time, as there was little information on the substance of the meeting. In hindsight, the fact that 10 British MPs including the Liberal Democrat deputy leader were also attending should perhaps have warranted a closer look.

Around midday today this meeting in Gibraltar started to look more significant when Alex Cobham retweeted the following from conservative MP Mark Simmonds, Minister for Overseas Territories:

“Delighted that the OTs and Crown Dependencies are delivering on the tax and transparency commitments they made before the G8 summit”

This evening, Richard Murphy at Tax Research is reporting that David Cameron has said the following: “I do not think it is fair any longer to refer to any of the overseas territories or Crown dependencies as tax havens.” Which is, as Murphy says, absolutely absurd.

The timing of this statement from Cameron cannot be a coincidence: the Overseas Territories lobby has done it again.

I will leave the last word to Valirie (sic). Under the brief article on the Gibraltar meeting in the Bermuda Royal Gazette, she wrote:

” So much has been made of Bermuda being the president of the United Kingdom Overseas Territories Association – UKOTA, yet the unity of this organisation was sadly and badly lacking when facing the disingenuousness of David Cameron’s tax haven curve ball.

This organisation must demonstrate, in one voice, cohesiveness, the willingness to stand up to UK bullying and the bad faith of the UK Conservative Government.”

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