UK MP wants law to ban digital payment firms like PayPal from withdrawing services over political views

The new clause could make it illegal in the UK for companies like PayPal to disable monetization for individuals and organizations for political reasons.

On Thursday, Conservative MP Sally-Ann Hart introduced an amendment to the Financial Services and Markets Bill. The amendment would make it illegal for a financial services provider to withhold or withdraw services from a customer when it concerns freedom of expression.

“The digitization of financial transactions has empowered payment service providers like never before,” Hart told The Epoch Times in an email.

The new clause will be discussed this week.

In September, US online payment system PayPal faced political pressure when it closed the accounts of several UK campaigns and journalist groups without a clear explanation.

It shut down the accounts of the Free Speech Union (FSU), an organization that advocates for people who have lost their jobs or who have been canceled from speaking out, and the Daily Skeptic news site. Both were founded by Toby Young, Associate Editor of The Spectator.


“This feels like an escalation of Big Tech’s ongoing war on free speech,” Young told the Epoch Times at the time.

Around the same time, the online payment system also closed the accounts of UsForThem, a campaign group that advocates prioritizing children during the COVID-19 pandemic and continues to lobby for children’s well-being.

PayPal eventually reinstated the account. It comes days after a leading UK MP called the ban an “organized and politically motivated move”.

However, there are still organizations permanently suspended by PayPal. British Medical Freedom Alliance, Challenge mandated COVID-19 testing, interventions and vaccines.

Laworfiction, a group of lawyers against lockdowns, has also had its account suspended.due to the nature of [its] activity

paypal logo
A sign outside PayPal’s headquarters in San Jose, Calif., on February 2, 2022. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

of Financial Services and Markets BillIt is currently in the committee stage of the House of Representatives.

Hart submitted an amendment (pdf) for “Refusal of Service for Reasons Related to Freedom of Expression”.

‘We need legislation’

This allows the Financial Conduct Authority to become involved if a payment service provider refuses to serve a UK customer if the reason is largely related to the customer exercising their right to freedom of expression. There is a possibility.

“After talking with many colleagues, we submitted an amendment because we need a law that prevents payment service providers from disabling individuals and organizations for political reasons,” Hart said.

“Expressing different opinions is fundamental to free speech, and the digitization of financial transactions has given payment service providers unprecedented power,” she added.

Write about the fix in everyday skepticYoung said this was a “very important fight”.

“If this amendment is not passed, a Chinese-style social credit system will soon emerge in Britain, except that instead of ideological dogma being enforced by Communist authorities, it will be enforced by awakened capitalist corporations. will do,” Young said. .

Regarding Young’s comments, Hart said he had never met him and felt unable to comment on what he said.

“I agree with his views on financial censorship against our fundamental human rights of freedom of speech, opinion and expression. said.

“This is an internationally recognized human right,” the parliamentarian added.

The Epoch Times has reached out to PayPal for comment.

Owen Evans


Owen Evans is a UK-based journalist with a particular interest in civil liberties and free speech, covering stories from a wide variety of countries.