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The Cayman Islands: People have been saying the date of Brexit was set to avoid an EU law that would ban tax avoidance – but it seems the UK has already implemented it.

No matter what happens to Theresa May’s government after she lost the “meaningful vote” on her Brexit deal, it seems the UK will have to extend Article 50 and push Brexit back by several weeks or months.

This Site has already discussed the humiliation that will signify, not just for Mrs May but for the people of the United Kingdom as a whole; the world will think we’re a bunch of clowns.

But Vox Political commenter Charles Loft tells me, “There is not enough Parliamentary time to get three Bills essential to Brexit through Parliament by 29th March, even with weekend and late night sittings, so should she survive… (very hopefully NOT!) she would have to extend Article 50.”

And Graham Corran reminded us, “[Theresa May] wants Brexit because her party is bankrolled by rich sponsors – and includes a lot of people – who want to continue to leg it offshore with their wealth to keep it away from the tax man.”

Other commentators have told us time and time again that Mrs May set March 29 as our leaving date because she wants to allow the super-rich to continue avoiding taxes by dodging the European Union’s new Anti-Tax Avoidance Directive.

In fact, that directive came into force on January 1 and the UK has taken steps to incorporate it into national law – but the only part of it that currently applies is the “Controlled Foreign Company” rule, that deters profit-shifting to a low tax/no tax country. Who’d like to see a progress report from HMRC on measures taken to prevent this?

Other directives don’t come in until January 2020 and the UK has changed domestic law to bring it in line with them.

So was the tax avoidance argument a red herring?

And if the EU directive is already part of UK tax law, are we going to see red-faced gammons getting angry about it?

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