As Brexit preparations continue, the UK Government has written to reaffirm its “commitment to the historic and valued constitutional relationship between the UK and Jersey”. The Minister responsible for Crown Dependency issues, Lord Keen QC, wrote to External Relations Minister, Senator Ian Gorst, who published the letter today.
One of the key Brexit objectives of the Jersey Government has been to continue the fundamentals of Jersey’s existing relationship with the UK, including maintaining the close customs and free trade relationship with the UK after Brexit.
The letter provides confirmation that these objectives have been secured.
Lord Keen reiterated that the UK Government will continue to consult and engage with Jersey to ensure that Jersey’s interests are taken into account, both in the UK’s Brexit negotiations, and in the UK’s domestic preparations for leaving the EU.
He acknowledged the close working between UK and Jersey governments, and highlighted a number of notable successes, including the inclusion of Crown Dependencies in the territorial scope of the Withdrawal Agreement, ensuring that Jersey will continue to benefit from Protocol 3 arrangements throughout the implementation period.
Lord Keen also noted the good progress being made on agreeing a new customs union between the UK and Crown Dependencies. The Minister further reaffirmed the UK’s position that Brexit “does not change the longstanding constitutional relationships between the UK and the Crown Dependencies” and acknowledged “the important and historic relationship between the UK and Jersey, as evidenced by the Royal Charters”.
Senator Gorst said: “In light of the continuing challenges posed by Brexit, this letter, reaffirming the constitutional relationship between the UK and Jersey, is both timely and welcome. It acknowledges the rights and privileges of islanders, as set out in the Royal Charters, and recognises how important it is for both governments to work closely together to prepare for withdrawal under a range of scenarios, and to seek a positive outcome for our future relationship with the EU.”
While Brexit negotiations are a matter for the UK, Jersey’s government is following events closely and has established open communication and effective engagement with the UK Government. Recent engagement includes meetings with ministers and officials at the British Irish Council, at which the UK’s commitment to representing the interests of Jersey and the other Crown Dependencies in EU negotiations was discussed.
Senator Gorst added: “It is also pleasing that Lord Keen has highlighted the notable successes that our unprecedented cooperation has achieved. I expect that the next important success arising from this cooperation, and our centuries-old constitutional relationship, will be the signing of a customs arrangement between the UK and Jersey.”