UK MPs withdraw amendment to stop tax withholding services for digital payment firms over political views

A member of parliament who wanted to make it illegal in the UK for companies like PayPal to disable customer monetization for political reasons said the UK government needed to look more closely at the issue. and removed her amendment.

On November 3, 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 new provision makes it illegal in the UK for companies like PayPal to disable monetization of individuals and organizations for political reasons, and in the light of a series of political account closures from PayPal. was filed.

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

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”.

Hart told The Epoch Times in an email that he had withdrawn the proposed amendment, but claimed that the issue had not been resolved.

“I have withdrawn the minister’s amendment [Andrew Griffith, economic secretary to the Treasury] Freedom of speech and freedom of expression are essential, financial censorship is wrong, and the new Article 15 and the issues it raises need to be examined in detail by the government, particularly with respect to the review of the Payment Services Regulations 2017. There will be an agreement in January 2023,” Hart said.

Hart said he plans to meet with Griffith to discuss many issues.

“Should the proposed amendments be included in the Financial Services and Markets Bill? Does the Equality Act 2010 address this issue? Do the Payment Services Regulations 2017 already cover this issue? Did PayPal comply with the regulations in the given example? And is the current regime sufficient and how will the new provisions interact with the existing regulatory regime?” she said.

With this amendment, UK financial regulators could become involved if a payment service provider refuses to serve a customer on the grounds of freedom of speech issues.

However, Hart will also discuss whether the Financial Conduct Authority is the appropriate body to adjudicate on freedom of expression and free speech issues.

“If the issue doesn’t progress, I’ll revert the fix!” Added a heart.

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.