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Chaos in the government helps enterprising backbenchers

Chaos in the government helps enterprising backbenchers

A 59-WORD plan to crack down on non-residents selling property in Britain was only a small move by the chancellor in the budget on November 22nd. But it marked a big victory for Stella Creasy. The backbench Labour MP had for weeks demanded that the government close a loophole through which foreign property-owners could avoid capital-gains tax when selling up. Now they will have to cough up £470m ($630m) over the next six years.

It capped off a legislative hat-trick for the MP for Walthamstow, who has a knack for turning campaigns into law. This summer Ms Creasy led a successful push to provide free abortions for women from Northern Ireland on the British mainland. In the previous parliament, she hounded the government into clamping down on payday lenders. All three cases demonstrate the impact a single MP can have, even when in opposition.

Yet enterprising politicians such as Ms Creasy are thin on the ground. Part of the problem is systemic. Whereas American congressmen make names for themselves by proposing bills on an…Continue reading

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