Where’s Jessica Fletcher? Who Killed the Debt Relief (Developing Countries) Bill

UPDATE: It was Christopher Chope, and a write up of events is available here.

Pressure is growing on David Cameron to identify the mystery Tory MP who deliberately scuppered a landmark anti-poverty bill that could have stopped “vulture” bankers profiteering from the developing world’s debt burdens.


The frustration has been compounded by the secrecy surrounding the events in the Commons last night. During the reading, three Tory MPs were seen to huddle together on the benches before one shouted the word “object!”, which under parliamentary procedure effectively stopped the bill passing.

Three Conservatives were in the chamber – Christopher Chope, Andrew Robathan and Simon Burns – but none has admitted intervening. The Tory treasury spokesman, David Gauke, who was on the committee that debated the bill, insisted the Conservatives had wanted to see it go through and that the MPs, two of whom are Tory whips, did not have the support of the frontbench. He said he did not know which one had made the objection. “We have our suspicions,” he added. “It is a pity. Our view was let’s go with the bill but that was not to be. Everyone recognises that this was a rushed process.”


Vulture funds buy up the debts of poor countries, often at a fraction of their face value, and pursue them through the international courts, in many instances despite agreements by other creditors to give the country debt relief.

pch.JPGSo who was it?

Lets find out shall we?

I presume you can all copy and paste (Bloggers: Feel free to cross post or write something to similar effect at your own place, please).

Dear [MP],

As reported in today’s Guardian, your name is one of three that have been floated as possible saboteurs of the Debt Relief (Developing Countries) Bill.

Given the nature of the Vulture Funds this Bill was meant to restrain, I request a clarification as to whether it was you who shouted “object” in order to kill the Bill.

If you were the one who shouted “object”, I would like to know on what grounds you did so.

If you were not the MP who shouted “object”, I would like you to clarify if you support the MP who did so and why.

I accept this will not be the only correspondence you receive with regard to this matter, but as this matter will effect the lives of millions of the world’s poorest I politely request as swift a response as possible.

Yours sincerely,

Left Outside


ANSWER ONE, from Simon Burns MP:

I categorically did not shout ‘object’ to the Bill because like my frontbench I fully supported the Bill and did not expect anyone to object to the Bill. I do not know why an MP objected to the Bill.

Simon Burns MP

Member of Parliament


That sound fairly unequivocal; just two more MPs to wait for. Mr Burns did not say if he knew who did object but it seems he did not support the action.


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