Members of Parliament representing all major parties gave support this week to ending corrupt practices that steal $1 trillion from the global economy every year. The politicians gathered for a photo shoot in the Great Hall of Westminster six months ahead of a key gathering of world leaders at the G20 in Australia on November 15th and 16th.
Holding a giant trillion dollar note to highlight the huge amounts of money that go missing due to secret greed, the nine MPs showed cross-party support for efforts to restore these assets to citizens.
The global EXPOSED campaign, which calls for integrity in all areas of public life, organised the photo shoot as part of its efforts to influence the G20 to make important decisions to cut down on corporate practices designed to avoid tax.
The reputation of the UK Parliament may have been shaken in recent years by scandals to do with over-claiming of expenses but the MPs at the photo event clearly stated their support for probity. Many of those present are involved in the All Party Parliamentary Group Against Corruption which seeks to tackle corrupt practices in the UK and across the globe.
Joel Edwards, who heads the EXPOSED campaign, says, “The hidden and murky world of corruption can be complicated: we understand bribery, but profit shifting, tax evasion, procurement deals and money laundering are complex ways companies and individuals escape paying their fair share of taxes. The good news is that the G20 nations are keen to tackle these things – and Christians are making a loud call for justice.”
The call for action at the G20 follows the UK’s lead in tackling corruption at previous meetings of the G8/G20. Conservative MP, Gary Streeter, says, “I’m proud that the UK has taken a lead on anti-corruption measures at the G8 and G20. But we can’t do it alone. Agreement at the G20 in November would give a big boost to all nations to track bribe payments, tax evasion and hidden profits. That would help honest business to thrive and help governments have more money for things like schools and hospitals.”
Labour’s spokesperson on international development, Gavin Shuker, also at the photo event, says, “It’s great to see politicians from all parties supporting better integrity in the ways business and public officials operate. I think we can be hopeful that action taken by the UK and all the other G20 nations can actually bring change that will benefit all nations. So we encourage Australia to make better governance a high priority.”
It is estimated that £3000 a second is lost to corruption in Africa alone, and as much as $21 trillion is kept in tax havens by the world’s super-wealthy.
EXPOSED has collected over 73,000 signatures so far from across the world calling on G20 leaders to take action so that all citizens in rich and poor communities can benefit from good governance. The petition will be presented to the Australian Prime Minister in June and to the G20 in November.
Photo shows: Back row (L-R): Gary Streeter MP, Stephen Timms MP, Gavin Shuker MP, Joel Edwards (Coordinator, EXPOSED), Mark Durkan MP, Simon Hughes MP.
Front row (L-R): Tessa Munt MP, Catherine McKinnell MP, Fiona Bruce MP (Caroline Spelman MP was not part of the group photo but was present at the event)
 Speech by Catherine McKinnell MP, co-chair of the APPG against Corruption to Parliament on December 9, 2013
 Reported by the BBC in 2012 http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-18944097
EXPOSED is a coalition of Christian organisations that aims to challenge the global Church, business and governments to highlight the impact of corruption on the poorest of the poor.
Founding Steering Group - American Bible Society, USA; Association for a more Just Society (AJS), Honduras; British and Foreign Bible Society, UK; Evangelical Association of the Caribbean; Heads of Denominations, Zimbabwe; Micah Challenge International; The Salvation Army International Social Justice Commission; Unashamedly Ethical; World Evangelical Alliance; 24-7 Prayer, South Africa
Other partners include - Advocates International; ALARM; ANAJURE, Brazil; CANOPI, Malaysia; Digni, Norway; Europartners; Evangelical Alliance UK; Intercessory Prayer Ministry Intl; Micah Network; Paz y Esperanza, Peru; The Leprosy Mission; PETRA People, Ame A Verdade, Brasil; Tearfund UK; World Council of Churches