Crown Dependencies to Cameron: ‘retain the status quo’
The chief ministers of Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man – the citizens and residents of which weren’t allowed to vote in the UK’s referendum on continued European Union membership last month, unlike those living in Gibraltar – have written jointly to UK prime minister David Cameron, asking him to “retain the status quo” with respect to the EU.
In their letter to the prime minister last week, States of Guernsey chief minister Gavin St Pier, Isle of Man chief minister Allan Bell and Jersey chief minister Ian Gorst also urged him to confirm that earlier “undertakings” to the effect that the three Crown Dependencies “will be kept informed on matters of interest to us are adhered to, and, where appropriate, are able to contribute to relevant discussions and negotiations”.
“We believe our interests will be best served by a continuation, as far as is possible, of the substance of the current arrangements, and in particular, the provisions of Protocol 3 relating to trade in goods between the Islands and the EU,” the three ministers said in their letter, which may be viewed on the Guernsey Government’s website by clicking here.
“We have welcomed the regular engagement with your ministers and officials in the years leading up to the renegotiation and referendum, which has helped ensure that we have been kept informed of developments and that we have been able to discuss and confirm our position on areas of importance,” the chief ministers went on. “We note your comments in the House of Commons that you will engage with the Crown Dependencies in this process.”
They then stressed three points:
* that the UK’s withdrawal from the EU “will not prevent the continued free trade in goods and services, the free movement of capital and the free movement of people between our jurisdictions”;
* that they have “a direct interest both in the terms of the UK’s withdrawal, and the negotiation of a future relationship” with the European Union as a result of the cessation, as a result of Brexit, of the Crown Dependencies’ participation in the common Customs Union, which currently allows for tariff-free trade in goods with the EU; and
* the importance to the three jurisdictions of any decisions ultimately taken on the grandfathering of rights for EU nationals living in UK territorial jurisdictions, “as we are home to a significant number of non-British EU nationals and residents that have EU rights through their connection to the UK”.
It wasn’t immediately known what response, if any, had been forthcoming from Cameron.
Meantime, a Manx advocate named Nigel Cordwell is launching a campaign in the Isle of Man to call for the island to hold its own referendum on the question as to whether the Isle of Man “should be a sovereign state in its own right” and, secondly, “if it should then be a member of the EU”, according to an article posted on the Isle of Man Today website.
It said he is proposing that a field of 24 candidates be put forward to run on a “pro-referendum platform” in the Isle of Man’s general election this autumn.
A public meeting is being held on Friday “to gauge opinion” on the matter, the IoM Today reported.
If an earlier effort to get a vote for the Isle of Man and its fellow Crown Dependencies is anything to go by, Cordwell may face an uphill struggle. Earlier this year representatives from all three islands took the case for a vote to the Queen, who, according to the BBC in May, after “having taken [a report on the matter] into consideration, was pleased, by and with the advice of her Privy Council, to dismiss” their petition.
Lord of the Rings actor and Isle of Man resident John Rhys-Davies, who launched an online petition demanding that Crown Dependency residents be allowed to vote in the referendum, also was unsuccessful. His petition is still online at petition.parliament.uk, where today at around noon it had 2,102 signatures.