Wycombe Labour has branded Beaconsfield MP Dominic Grieve’s comments on tax havens “puzzling” after he said a crackdown would “destroy” their economy and livelihoods.

Last week, Mr Grieve said British overseas territories like the British Virgin Islands were “entitled” to make their own decisions on how they run their financial services, following the leak of 11.5 million files containing information about offshore companies from Panama-based law firm Mossack Fonseca.

The former attorney general also told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme that if people find a tax environment “onerous” they would “shift elsewhere.”

Derek Berry, Wycombe Labour's spokesman said Mr Grieve’s objections to stopping offshore abuses were “puzzling.”

He said: "Mr Grieve is correct in stating that independent states should be free to develop and enforce their own tax laws and regulations. It is however not generally permissible for an independent state to facilitate, by negligence, indifference or corruption, citizens of other states to break their own tax laws. 

“Mr Grieve's objections to stopping these offshore abuses that help people launder stolen money or use secret accounts to avoid paying their taxes legally due to their own tax authorities are puzzling.

“To try and claim that tackling these crimes in the BVI [British Virgin Islands] will encourages greater crimes elsewhere is an odd thing for lawyer to say. The solution is simple: the details of these offshore funds should be available for disclosure to all legitimate tax authorities."