One of George Osborne’s most egregious acts of backing his City chums rather than battling for Britain was his decision to take the rest of Europe to court over the decision of 11 member states to proceed with a Robin Hood Tax. He took great comfort from the legal opinion of the Council of Ministers that backed his case over the measure known formally as the Financial Transactions Tax (FTT).
But tonight, Reuters reported the leaked legal advice that the European Commission requested in response. And it’s not good news for Mr Osborne, as he prepares for his moment in the spotlight delivering the (presumably seasonally adjusted, since it’s December) Autumn Financial Statement later this morning. The latest legal statement says – more unambiguously than legal advice usually does – that:
“the proposed FTT directive is in conformity both with customary international law and EU primary law.”