Chief Minister Allan Bell MHK has welcomed a commitment from the United Kingdom Government to further strengthen its working relationship with the Isle of Man.
Mr Bell held positive discussions with Lord McNally, Minister of State for Justice, during the recent British-Irish Council Summit in Jersey.
Lord McNally has since written to the Chief Minister to reaffirm his support towards developing the Island’s partnership with the Ministry of Justice (MOJ) and other key UK Departments.
The MoJ manages the UK Government’s constitutional relationship with the Crown Dependencies and has worked on enhancing a number of areas in line with the recommendations of a Justice Select Committee Report in 2010.
Manx legislation is now processed for Royal Assent in a more efficient way and initiatives are in place to help build a better understanding of the Isle of Man amongst MPs and UK Civil Servants.
Lord McNally said:
‘I also recognise that engaging internationally is an area which is increasingly important to the Isle of Man. I understand there may be occasions where you wish your voice to be heard separately on issues where you feel strongly that your interests differ significantly from those of the United Kingdom.’
‘The relationship between the UK and the Isle of Man is a positive and mutually beneficial one and it is vital that we continue to be good neighbours to one another. My Department will continue to work with you to find further ways to improve our processes and help ensure that our relationship is managed as effectively as possible.’
The Chief Minister said that building the Island’s links with the UK Government had many benefits in both practical and political terms.
‘The vast majority of Manx legislation is now processed for Royal Assent within 20 working days, which is a significant improvement on the previous arrangements. The MoJ has also helped to promote greater awareness of the Isle of Man across Whitehall and to facilitate discussions with other UK Departments on a range of important issues. We are looking to explore further ways to represent ourselves on the international stage and the MoJ is providing valuable assistance in this area.’
Mr Bell added:
‘It was a pleasure to meet Lord McNally again at the BIC Summit and take the opportunity to reflect on the solid progress that has been achieved in recent years. Lord McNally knows the Isle of Man very well and I look forward to working with him in the months and years ahead.’