Saturday 07 October 2023
Politicians from Guernsey are attending three of the UK's Party Conferences this autumn: to attend meetings with MPs and other events; to explain our constitutional position and economic relationship with the UK; and to assess the developing themes and mood of the conference attendees ahead of the forthcoming UK General Election.
Building relationships with Ministers, shadow Ministers and other members of the House of Commons and House of Lords is important to Guernsey as we prepare for future opportunities and challenges.
Deputy Jonathan Le Tocq, member of the Policy & Resources Committee with responsibility for external relations, said:
"During the Conferences for the Liberal Democrats and the Conservatives, I met with a number of Ministers, shadow Ministers, official spokespersons and other MPs, including the Deputy Prime Minister, the Rt Hon Oliver Dowden CBE MP, the Foreign Secretary, the Rt Hon James Cleverly MP, the Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice, the Rt Hon Alex Chalk KC MP, and the Ministry of Justice Minister with responsibility for the relationship with the Crown Dependencies, Mike Freer MP. Of course, we did not need to explain our constitutional relationship at the meeting with the Ministry of Justice Ministers, but we have discussed our autonomy for domestic matters with other UK parliamentarians at both Conferences. I also had the opportunity to engage with Ambassadors and Heads of Mission who were attending the Conferences, which is part of our ongoing bilateral engagement with other jurisdictions."
Deputy Peter Ferbrache, President of the Policy & Resources Committee, said:
"Although the date of the next UK General Election is not yet set, we know it will be within the next 12 to 15 months. Guernsey's government will work constructively with whichever political party, or parties, is in government in the UK. We do so for the island and, where appropriate, for the wider Bailiwick too. As we have seen in recent years, the way the British constitution works is directly impacted by UK politics. This makes it important that UK politicians understand and respect our long-standing rights to make our own decisions and fulfil our own obligations for making legislation, managing public finances and participating in trade agreements and other international treaties. I am pleased that my colleagues have had such a productive time at the first two Party Conferences and look forward to attending the Labour Party Conference this week myself."
Deputy Nick Moakes, member of the Committee for Economic Development and lead for international trade and financial services matters, said:
"International trade is important for Guernsey's economic future. At my first UK Party Conference, I was pleased to meet various Conservative parliamentarians, including Ministers from the Department for Business & Trade and HM Treasury. Guernsey continues to look outwardly for opportunities which suit our economic interests. I was delighted to meet Ambassadors from around the world, including some whose countries are involved in ongoing negotiations with the UK Government about free trade agreements, and to talk to them about Guernsey's history and our future interests and economic aspirations."