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House of Commons Hansard
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23 March 2010
Volume 508
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13. What recent discussions he has had with the Governments of the Crown dependencies on their relationship with Government Departments; and if he will make a statement. [323396]

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The Ministry of Justice has frequent discussions at many levels with the Governments of the Crown dependencies. We discuss many aspects of our constitutional relationship, including on occasion the islands’ relationships with other Government Departments.

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I thank the Minister for what he did to help resolve the dispute between the Isle of Man and our Department of Health. However, are not the lessons of that dispute that there need to be more bilateral meetings between Ministers of the Crown dependencies and Whitehall Ministers that avoid the Sir Humphreys, and that the Ministry of Justice needs to reassert its lead role throughout Whitehall as the conduit between Her Majesty’s Government and the Crown dependency Governments?

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One lesson of the recent dispute was the persuasive eloquence of my hon. Friend. He deserves a lot of praise for that, and he will be much missed in this House.

This Government take our relationship with the Crown dependencies extremely seriously. Certainly when I was the Minister responsible, I had frequent meetings with them, as does my colleague the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Lord Bach. I am sure that all Ministers in the Ministry of Justice will continue to do that. I know my hon. Friend’s views on the Sir Humphreys and so on, but the officials who deal with such matters are excellent. They do a very good job, on which they should be congratulated.