Overseas Territories

House of Lords written question – answered on 27 June 2012.

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Photo of Lord Ashcroft Lord Ashcroft Conservative

To ask Her Majesty's Government what strains they have identified on the relationships between the Government and the Overseas Territories.

Photo of Lord Howell of Guildford Lord Howell of Guildford Minister of State (Foreign and Commonwealth Office) (International Energy Policy)

The Government have a vision for the populated territories as vibrant and flourishing communities, proudly retaining aspects of their British identity and generating wider opportunities for their people. The Government will shortly issue a White Paper on this issue. Territories are very diverse and face diverse challenges including cutting public sector deficits, ensuring integrity in public life, and building more diverse and resilient economies in these testing economic times. We take our responsibility for the security and good governance of the territories seriously, for example in the Turks and Caicos Islands, where we have supported a wide ranging reform programme to address the issues raised by Sir Robin Auld's 2009 commission of inquiry, which identified a high probability of systemic corruption, and enable restoration of a democratic government through elections now announced for November 2012. We are aware that some territory politicians press for more action by the UK Government; others for less. But overall the relationship between the UK Government and the territories is strong and we are committed to strengthening engagement, including by UK departments in their areas of competence and by encouraging partnerships between UK local authorities and the territories. The forthcoming White Paper will detail the UK Government's strategy and priorities.

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