William Hague Statement on Overseas Territories

18 Sep

William Hague made a speech this week on the subject of the remaining British Overseas Territories. Speaking in the House of Commons he said, “In my statement to the House of 10 March I set out this Government’s overall vision for our overseas territories and explained that we were working with Departments across Government on a new strategy to deliver this. The national Security Council agreed the main principles of a new strategy in July. The UK Government’s fundamental responsibility and objective are to ensure the security and good governance of the territories and their peoples. The strategy recognises that our 14 overseas territories are remarkably diverse. Policies to meet these objectives need to be tailored to the specific circumstances of each territory. The strategy is designed to provide a framework in which these policies can be developed and implemented consistently and effectively.”

He went on to outline the current Government’s pursuit of modern constitutions for each of the remaining Territories, believing, “… that the fundamental structure of our constitutional relationships is the right one: powers are devolved to the elected Governments of the settled territories to the maximum extent possible consistent with the UK retaining powers necessary to discharge our sovereign responsibilities ….when a decade of constitutional revision is coming to a close, the time is not right to embark on further constitutional change. Rather our strategy is to ensure the constitutional arrangements work effectively to promote the best interests of the territories and of the UK. “

The Foreign Secretary identified the executive’s three policy goals, as:

(i) strengthening the engagement and interaction between the UK and the territories.

(ii) working with territories to strengthen good governance arrangements, public financial management and economic planning where this is necessary; and

(iii) improving the quality and range of support available to the territories.

A new White Paper is due to be published next January, setting out the detail of the Government proposals, and both the Prime Minister, David Cameron, and Mr. Hague will be attending the United Nations next week to speak on a range of Foreign Policy issues.




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