MP Walton Brown yesterday hit back at attacks on Bermuda’s tax regime — and warned that business leaders could push the island towards independence if Britain continued to interfere in domestic affairs.

Mr Brown wrote that the attendance of Overseas Territories leaders at a summit meeting in London with UK PM David Cameron “validated” UK authority to interfere.

But he added: “On the other hand continued involvement by the British government will raise the possibility of resistance to UK sovereignty over the island by an unlikely group — business leaders.

“Independence has been an issue little discussed since the 1993 referendum, when a low turnout spurned by a boycott called by one of the two parties saw a firm rejection of nationhood.”

But he warned: “If Britain continues down the path of meddling in the economic affairs of overseas territories and seeming to dictate a course of action, particularly while the territories are already working to meet international obligations, there will be a battle akin to that of David and Goliath.

“But for the David that is Bermuda, the recourse may simply be the path to autonomy.”

Mr Brown’s opinion piece appeared in the prestigious UK newspaper The Guardian yesterday. The left-leaning newspaper has been critical of Bermuda particularly, with some of its writers branding it as a “tax haven” that needed to be cracked down on.

Mr Brown wrote: “David Cameron’s recent meeting with the overseas territories and crown dependencies was meant to show his determination to get the United Kingdom’s proverbial house in order and show his G8 colleagues he has the wherewithal to do so.

“Both efforts came across as petulant political posturing.”

Mr Brown pointed out that Bermuda’s tax system based on indirect taxes and a tax on wages and salaries, but had never taxed corporate earnings or investment income.

He said: “That doesn’t make us a tax haven, just different from other countries. Part of the problem for places such as Bermuda is we never contested the notion of being an ‘off-shore’ jurisdiction and were thus rendered peripheral and of questionable legitimacy in the eyes of many.”

And he said that Bermuda had signed a total of 42 tax exchange agreements with countries around the world, with the first being America in 1988. He added: “All a signatory country has to do is submit the tax request and Bermuda responds. More importantly, the country has met every international obligation in this area and continues to assess developments to ensure we conform to international best practices.”

Mr Brown said Mr Cameron appeared as a weakened leader fighting to retain power in a shaky coalition with the Liberal Democrats. He added Mr Cameron “looks like an embattled leader fighting to show his voters his determination to bring tax revenue back to Britain and shore up his tenuous tenure.”