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'If the UK can't make up its mind, we need separate representation', says MHK

The Ministry of Justice flew the Manx flag on Tynwald Day, 5 July. 

Brexit fallout prompts motion of Manx international standing

A Tynwald backbencher believes the Island should have more say over international matters which affect it, in light of Brexit uncertainty.

Douglas South MHK Kate Beecroft will put a motion to the court this month, asking the Council of Ministers to reconsider how Manx interests are represented by the United Kingdom.

Mrs Beecroft says a recommendation from the UK House of Commons' Justice Committee in 2014 should be looked at again.

It advised that when the Crown Dependencies have a 'distinct view on a matter which is significant to them', the UK should ensure their case is heard.

However, the proposed idea of separate representation in external negotiations was opposed by the UK Government at the time, which called it inappropriate for the Isle of Man, Jersey and Guerney as they are not sovereign states.

Mrs Beecroft believes the current Manx government should be pushing for a reexamination of its standing.

The motion by the Douglas South member has been prompted by the political fallout from the EU Referendum in 2016 - an issue in which the Isle of Man has had no say.

'I think particularly as the UK doesn't seem to be able to make up it's mind what is in their best interests and what they're going to fight for, then we should have separate representation', she told Manx Radio.

'This [Brexit] is certainly an international matter, where we have, or possibly have, very different interests than those of the UK.

At last month's House of Keys sitting, Mrs Beecroft argued this position to the chief minister, after questioning whether his administration had secured the views of Manx residents concerning the Island's position during Brexit negotiations

In her motion for this month's Tynwald, she has also proposed an amendment to the Island's legal status which could allow the Isle of Man to have independent recognition in international law. 

Letters of Entrustment

Constitutionally, Britain's three Crown Dependencies - Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man - are managed by the UK Ministry of Justice.

As well as making appointments on behalf of the Crown such as the Lieutenant Governor, and granting Royal Assent, the penultimate stage to the enactment of Manx laws, the MoJ is behind the issuing of Letters of Entrustment.

This gives the Crown Dependencies the power to settle international agreements in their own right, but are limited.

The Manx government recently appointed Peter Boxer as its new Executive Director for the Crown and External Relations, tasked with representing the Island on the international stage.

He told Manx Radio his job is to ensure the Isle of Man 'isn't forgotten' during Brexit negotiations and that it 'spots opportunities'.

The Independence question

Although she says it wasn't her intention, Mrs Beecroft's motion may prompt a further discussion of the Island's sovereignty when Tynwald sits this month.

'There's no harm in having that debate.

'Why wouldn't you look at things every now and again to see if you're using the best option available to you, that's going to give you the best results for the Island?'

You can follow coverage of Tynwald on the AM player at manxradio.com and on the smartphone apps, or via AM 1368, from 10.30am on Tuesday 16 July.

It's the last sitting of the court before the summer recess.

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