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Mr Browne, who was accompanied by representatives of galleries that included the Fine Art Society, Tim Taylor, and Bernard Jacobson, wanted to reinforce Britain’s position and to lobby MEPs of the legal affairs committee in an effort to persuade the Council of Ministers to stick to their position of allowing the UK to delay adopting the tax.

Despite the insistence of countries such as France in the past two years that harmonisation of tax under EU rules should mean the UK introducing droit de suite rather than other countries abolishing it, there are now signs that opinion among French politicians and the trade is turning.

At the recent Paris conference organised by online auction firm eAuction room, Jean Vistel, representing the French government, echoed the thoughts of many auctioneers in the room in denouncing droit de suite and Import VAT as taxes that were damaging to the trade that the authorities should tackle.