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UK Vulture Funds Law – how it happened

“It is not often that a voluntary organisation conducts street protests against City firms in one month and is rewarded by a Bill virtually to abolish these funds in the next.”
– The Earl of Sandwich, 8 April 2010


JAN 2009 – Parliamentary reception on Vulture Funds hears from campaigners and lawyers from US.


MAY 2009 – Sally Keeble MP secures Ten Minute Rule Bill on Vulture Funds.


SUMMER 2009 – Tens of thousands of campaigners sign Vulture Funds postcards to MPs calling for Vulture Funds Law. 203 MPs sign Early Day Motion in support.

JUL 2009 – Treasury launches consultation on legislation.

SEP 2009 – Campaigners call on Government to put Vultures Bill in Queen’s Speech. Government declines.


NOV 2009 – Two vulture funds swoop on Liberia in High Court and are awarded $20 million.


DEC 2009 – Thousands of campaigners contact MPs at top of Private Member’s Ballot. Andrew Gwynne MP agrees to ake up Vulture Funds Bill.


FEB 2010 – Reception in Parliament in support of Vulture Funds Bill. 216 MPs sign new Early Day Motion.


FEB 2010 – Spoof cake sale outside offices of Dechert LLP, law firm for Vulture Funds targeting Liberia.

FEB 2010 – Results of Government Consultation released, showing support for Vultures Law.

FEB 2010 – Bill passes Second Reading.

MAR 2010 – Messages of support received from Archbishop Tutu, President Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia, President Jagdeo of Guyana and former President Mkapa of Tanzania.


MAR 2010 – Campaigners stage demonstration outside Philip Davies MP’s office in Shipley, Yorkshire, to protest against wrecking amendment, subsequently withdrawn.


MAR 2010 – Bill blocked at Third Reading by unrecorded Conservative MP – thought to be Christopher Chope. Christopher Chope claims he is a scapegoat.

MAR 2010 – Facebook group set up targeting Chris Chope for opposing Bill.

MAR 2010 – Labour accuses Conservative front bench of supporting block. Conservatives say they support the Bill.

MAR 2010 – Campaigners, Labour backbenchers and Lib Dems call on Harriet Harman to make more time for Bill.

MAR 2010 – Labour commits to including Vultures Law in its manifesto.

APR 2010 – Bill passes through Commons and Lords in final hours, becoming the Debt Relief (Developing Countries) Act on 7 April.

MAY 2010 – The new government’s Coalition Agreement pledges to “review what action can be taken against ‘vulture funds’.”

NOV 2010 – US vulture fund FG Hemisphere is awarded $100 million in a Jersey court for a claim against the Democratic Republic of Congo.

NOV 2010 – Liberia reaches a settlement with the two vulture funds to repay 3% of the the debt – saving over $40 million.

NOV 2010 – A group of 14 international development organisations write to the Guardian calling on the Government to make the vultures law permanent.

MAR 2011 – The Coalition Government announces it will make the Vultures Law permanent.

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