Economic Crime (Transparency and Enforcement) Bill: Bishop of Leeds raises ethical concerns

On 9th March 2022, the House of Lords debated the Economic Crime (Transparency and Enforcement) Bill in its second reading. The Bishop of Leeds spoke in the debate, raising concerns about the background to the bill, which was introduced in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine:

The Lord Bishop of Leeds: My Lords, I welcome this Bill and the speed with which it is being brought to us, but I share some of the concerns that have been represented already. I do not intend to go into any of the detail of matters that have already been spoken about; I am sure other noble Lords would be better at that than I might be.

I hesitate to bring an ethical argument because, in my experience in this House, ethical arguments simply get ignored. Indeed, one Minister replied to an ethical argument made on a different Bill by saying, “We will not listen to strictures on morality from anyone.” That led me, at the next stage—on Report—simply to say that that implies there is no place in politics for ethics. But it is my ethical concerns, which one might represent as cultural, that cause me to stand now.

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