Jersey is watching events in Guernsey closely, where the States this week voted to support most laws being formally approved by the island’s Lieutenant-Governor and having locally nominated Privy Councillors.
External Relations Minister Philip Ozouf said that it was important that relationships moved with the times, although he stressed the fundamental link between the islands and the Monarch.
Deputy Ozouf added that he fully supported investigating having Channel Islanders sit on the Privy Council to better communicate the islands’ interests to the UK on major issues.
In Guernsey this week, the States approved a billet from the Policy and Resources Committee that most laws should be officially approved by the King’s representative in the island.
The proposed changes should be in place later this year, following consultation with the relevant UK authorities.
The States also strongly supported a proposal to investigate having locally-nominated individuals sit on the Privy Council following a successful amendment by former Chief Minister Gavin St Pier.
All legislation has to be approved by the King-in-Council, known as the Privy Council. But the Council will now be asked to delegate that responsibility to Guernsey’s Lieut-Governor, except for major and non-domestic legislation, which will continue to require Royal Assent.
Deputy Jonathan Le Tocq, Guernsey’s external relations lead, said it would provide a “greater example of our legislative autonomy and international identity,” which would ensure the lawmaking process is “largely on-island”.
Because of the ability to forge new international relationships following Brexit, he said there now is “greater scrutiny and greater need for us to legislate effectively and quickly sometimes in order to keep pace with change”.
Deputy Le Tocq told the States that the Isle of Man has operated a similar system successfully for over 40 years and that appropriate tweaks have been made for the Bailiwick in consultation with Jersey, the UK Ministry of Justice and local law officers.
Deputy St Pier warned that Members of Parliament “may have little or no knowledge of the islands” especially given the “unprecedented turnover of ministers” in HM Government over the past decade.
He said both Guernsey and Jersey are “quite capable” of providing individuals to the Council with the “correct gravitas, experience, and knowledge”.
“We are the Crown's oldest dominions, that history alone warrants an investigation of our position on council, and to strengthen the relationship with the Crown.”
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