Former Business Secretary Sir Jacob Rees-Mogg is proposing an amendment to the Digital Markets Bill to stop banks from shutting down accounts over customers’ political views.
He said that the change will ensure customers like Nigel Farage, who revealed that his Coutts account had been closed, are prevented from being blacklisted.
Sir Jacob told The Telegraph: “It is right for banks to block the accounts of individuals. The problem is they are doing this in far too many cases”.
He continued: “On an individual basis, it might be reasonable, but it keeps happening and makes you think banks have an agenda.
“Without a bank account you are a non-citizen because we don’t have protection of cash in this country. Many shops no longer take cash. If you don’t have a bank account you are a non-person. You would hope the Government is sympathetic to this amendment.”
READ MORE: Rees-Mogg pushing to ban banks from shutting down accounts of politicians
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Chancellor Jeremy Hunt has ordered an investigation by City Minister Andrew Griffith into the controversy of banks closing accounts because they disagree with customers’ opinions.
Mr Hunt revealed over the weekend that he was refused an account with Monzo last year, and believes he was denied because he was a “politically exposed person”.
Security Minister Tom Tugendhat said that it should be “unacceptable” for banks to close accounts on “political grounds”.
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The Digital Markets Bill was introduced in April and is currently going through the House of Commons. Sir Jacob’s amendment would require wants to provide a written statement to customers of the reasons why their account was closed within 30 days.
If the bank breached its obligations customers would also be entitled to damages for financial loss, emotional distress and physical inconvenience and discomfort.
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