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‘Inappropriate for Jersey to have MP’

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IT would be ‘constitutionally inappropriate’ for Jersey to send an MP to Westminster for political representation, the External Relations Minister has said.

Senator Ian Gorst Picture: ROB CURRIE. (27143712)

Senator Ian Gorst’s comments come in response to national media coverage of a campaign to establish MPs for the Crown Dependencies – Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man – and British Overseas Territories, such as Bermuda, the Cayman Islands and Gibraltar.

Former Guernsey States Member Anthony Webber is heading the campaign and championing proposals for a system of MPs for the various territories, which according to reports has the backing of Tory MPs John Penrose and Andrew Rosindell, who is the chairman of the Channel Islands All Party Parliamentary Group.

Mr Webber has called for the UK to follow the example of countries such as France and Denmark, which allow members from their overseas dependent territories, even the most far flung, to sit in their national parliaments.

He also suggested that legislation could be passed to bring his proposals into effect before the next UK general election.

Speaking to the JEP last year, Mr Rosindell said that Jersey was suffering a ‘democratic deficit’, as it has no official representation in Westminster, despite the UK having responsibility in several areas that affect the Island, such as national defence and Brexit.

He said that the Island should have ‘nothing to be afraid of’ if it had an MP in London, as it could retain its current autonomy. He also proposed that a select committee should be established in the UK parliament to deal with matters relating to the Crown Dependencies and British Overseas Territories. After Mr Webber’s endeavours were brought to his attention on Twitter, Jersey External Relations Minister and former Chief Minister Ian Gorst dismissed the idea.

‘It is constitutionally inappropriate for Jersey to be represented in another country’s parliament,’ he wrote.

‘Whatever we think about it, we already have our own parliament. We will of course always remain loyal to the Crown.’

Ian Heath

By Ian Heath
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