On Monday just after 10pm I shouted ‘No’ to force a division against plans to regulate our successful hedge fund industry.
Consequently, we had one special ‘deferred division’ today where, rather than walk through the lobbies as normal, we fill in open ballot papers. The result has just been announced in the Commons.
The vote was on whether to approve the Alternative Investment Fund Managers Regulations 2013. These Regulations implement the EU Directive of the same name and force private equity and hedge funds to adopt structures prescribed by the EU. The Conservative party initially opposed it.
Some funds which have traditionally been based in London are already moving to Switzerland or Singapore rather than accept this EU regulation. Protectionist aspects also stop many US funds selling into the EU, forcing some to close representative offices in London.
I was heartened therefore to assemble a cross-party alliance of 27 MPs to vote against today and try to protect our hedge funds from these EU regulations.
As well as 12 Conservatives and 4 Northern Irish MPs straddling the sectarian divide, 11 courageous and, at least on this occasion, independently-minded Labour MPs voted with me to defend the City. They were:
Margaret Beckett, Jeremy Corbyn, Ian Davidson, Paul Flynn, Jim Hood, George Howarth, Siobhain McDonagh, Jim McGovern, Ann McKechin, Dennis Skinner and Joan Walley.
The Conservatives were Bill Cash, Richard Drax, Gordon Henderson, Philip Hollobone, Stewart Jackson, Bernard Jenkin, Nigel Mills, David Nuttall, myself, Sir Richard Shepherd, Charles Walker and Craig Whittaker.
The Northern Irish MPs with us were Mark Durkan and Margaret Ritchie of the SDLP, Naomi Long of the Alliance and Independent Unionist Lady Sylvia Herman.
On a day when Ed Milliband was attacking David Cameron for supporting hedge funds – even when he was driving through EU regulation of the sector – I am particularly grateful to the 11 Labour MPs who joined me in standing up for our hard-working hedge fund managers.