The Government has today published a response to the Justice Committee's report on Crown Dependencies. Commenting on the response Sir Alan Beith MP, Chair of the Justice Committee, said:
“I very much welcome the Ministry of Justice’s acceptance that it should concentrate on its core constitutional duties regarding the Crown Dependencies – Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man.
“However, the Government’s response embodies a broader view of the potential scope of the UK’s veto relating to Crown Dependencies’ legislation than is generally held in the Crown Dependencies.”
“It is important that Government departments recognise that there is a difference between those areas in which the UK Government has international responsibilities regarding the Crown Dependencies, and those policy issues which are a matter of the UK and the Crown Dependencies being good neighbours to each other.”
“Also, I am surprised that the Government has not accepted in full the Committee’s recommendations regarding the need for the Crown Dependencies’ interests properly to be represented internationally when they conflict with those of the UK Government. People who had savings in Isle of Man-based banks during the Icelandic bank collapse had good reason to feel that their interests could not be represented fairly by the UK Government.
“In light of concerns the Committee expressed about Sark, I welcome the Government’s assurance that it will provide advice and support to the government and Chief Pleas of Sark as the new democratic government matures.
“The Government’s response to the former Justice Committee’s report on Crown Dependencies takes valuable steps in moving towards a more mature relationship between the UK, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man in the 21st Century.”
The Justice Committee published the Crown Dependencies Report on 30 March 2010 (HC 56-I of session 2009-10).