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Modernizing UK/BOT partnership: Falklands meets Commons' Select Procedure Committee

Monday, January 29th 2024 - 10:45 UTC
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MLA Teslyn Barkman next to Lord Cameron and Foreign Office minister for the Americas David Rutley MLA Teslyn Barkman next to Lord Cameron and Foreign Office minister for the Americas David Rutley

This Monday afternoon Falkland Islands elected member of the Legislative Assembly, MLA Teslyn Barkman will sit before the House of Commons Select Procedure Committee and give evidence on Overseas Territories' more fluid relations with the Commons following on the recent understanding reached between UK Government and UK Overseas Territories Governments for a more dynamic partnership.

The Commons Procedure Committee is examining options for Overseas Territories representation within the House of Commons’ proceedings, including its committees.

The committee said that witnesses (this Monday, Gibraltar, Falkland Islands and Montserrat) will be asked about changes to House procedures around legislative consent and transparency, how parliamentary select committees can work more collaboratively with the Overseas Territories and representation of the Overseas Territories in the UK Parliament.

“Our inquiry is exploring Parliament’s role in creating legislation that impacts the Overseas Territories, the options for reform and what effective representation could look like,” said Dame Karen Bradley MP, Chair of the Procedure Committee.

“We look forward to hearing directly from representatives of the Overseas Territories for their views on how we in Westminster can collaborate better with them on the issues that affect us all.”

MLA Teslyn Barkman is also president of the UKOTA (Overseas Territories Association) Political Council and played a significant role in the Joint Declaration negotiations on “A Modern Partnership for a stronger British Family”. Discussions between the UK government and Overseas Territories governments representatives were led by Foreign Office minister for the Americas David Rutley. The final declaration was finally rubricated by the presence of foreign secretary, Lord David Cameron and a reception hosted by King Charles III.

At the time MLA Barkman said that the challenges of the Overseas Territories are diverse and the strategy that it sets out in the Declaration agrees a number of principles from which individual priorities can be discussed through bilateral ‘compacts’, structured discussions, between the UK Government and each Territory’s Government that can be elevated for action at a Ministerial level.

“The commitment to a mutual future is clearly reaffirmed by this strategy,” explained MLA Barkman who added that the Falklands have enjoyed a growing relationship with the UK Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs, and this has led to useful work and knowledge sharing in areas that support our biodiversity. This is an example of the joined up working that this strategy formalizes and can strengthen. There is a lot we can achieve together and this places us in a fortunate position to have engagement prioritized within the UK Government more routinely.

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