MPs rule out case for more Manx autonomy

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The constitutional relationship between the UK and the Crown Dependencies is operating more smoothly and efficiently, according to a report published today (Thursday).

But the Justice Committee says it does not accept there should be a fundamental rebalancing of the relationship in order to increase the islands’ autonomy.

Its report states: ‘We note the pressure from some groups in the Crown Dependencies towards re-defining the constitutional relationship in a way that allows the islands even greater independence from the UK.

‘While the relationship has evolved over time and will rightly continue to do so, its very nature imposes certain responsibilities on the UK which it cannot ignore. We are therefore not convinced that any attempt to achieve a fundamental re-balancing would be fruitful.’

At the end of a follow-up inquiry, the committee concludes that the Ministry of Justice has implemented almost all the recommendations it made in 2010.

As a result, legislation made in Tynwald and the other island parliaments comes into force far more quickly, Whitehall departments consult with the Crown Dependencies about Westminster legislation and international measures affecting them more consistently and the islands have some opportunity to feed into international negotiations where they have particular interests.

Committee chairman Sir Alan Beith MP said: ‘By implementing the committee’s earlier recommendations, the Ministry of Justice has been able to deal more efficiently with its responsibilities towards the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man. This has been to the benefit of all sides, and has resulted in unusually warm tributes being paid to the Minister and the department in the evidence given to us. It is important this improvement is maintained.’

The committee recommends the MoJ speeds up the process for extending treaties to the Crown Dependencies at their request, and finds a better mechanism for the representation of island interests in international negotiations, where their interests differ from those of the UK.

In 2010 the committee concluded the UK should only intervene in a Crown Dependency where there is a serious breakdown in good government.

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