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Chief Minister welcomes UK Select Committee review 22 March 2013

CHIEF Minister Allan Bell MHK has welcomed the opportunity to revisit how the Isle of Man’s constitutional relationship with the United Kingdom Government is managed by the Ministry of Justice.

It was announced this week that a House of Commons Select Committee is looking at the progress achieved since the publication of its 2010 Report on the Crown Dependencies - the Isle of Man, Jersey and Guernsey.

The House of Commons Justice Committee, headed by Sir Alan Beith MP, will assess the extent to which the recommendations of that original report have been implemented over the past three years.

The enquiry will focus on four main areas –

  • Scrutiny of Crown Dependencies legislation by the Ministry of Justice
  • Consultation with the Crown Dependencies by Government Departments on UK legislation in which they have an interest
  • Issues relating to the good government of the Crown Dependencies
  • International representation of the Crown Dependencies by the UK Government

The Isle of Man will respond to the latest call for evidence by making a written submission to the Committee.

The Chief Minister said:

‘The Isle of Man has a good working relationship with the UK Government and greatly values the support provided by the Ministry of Justice. We engaged positively with the original enquiry and the resulting report supported the Isle of Man’s desire to enhance its international profile and develop further opportunities to represent itself on the world stage.’

He added:

‘We welcome this opportunity to reflect on how the implementation of recommendations in the 2010 report has affected the operation of our constitutional relationship with the UK Government. We will be expressing our views to the Committee and look forward to further strengthening our links with the Ministry of Justice in the future.’

The 2010 report examined how the UK Government fulfils its constitutional responsibilities for the Crown Dependencies, primarily through the Ministry of Justice which manages the UK’s relationship with the Isle of Man, Jersey and Guernsey.

It acknowledged the Isle of Man as a ‘democratic, self-governing community’ and recognised our ‘essential independence’ from the UK.

Mr Bell said:

‘It is important to stress that, as was the case with the original enquiry, this latest review is not about the constitutional relationship between the Isle of Man and the UK, it is about the way in which that relationship is handled by the Ministry of Justice.’

He added:

‘The Isle of Man has increasingly represented its own interests in world affairs in recent years and enhanced its political and economic relations with other countries, most notably by concluding a significant number of bilateral tax agreements. We have also been building on existing relationships, and establishing new ones, with a number of UK Government Departments. The 2010 Justice Committee report endorsed our approach and this new enquiry will allow us to re-evaluate the situation and make suggestions on any areas we feel have scope for further development.’

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