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Protecting finance and legal sectors a priority for minister

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PROTECTING Guernsey's strengths in finance and the legal sector as the UK enters into negotiations with the European Union will be a priority for the man in Westminster responsible for managing the relationship with the Crown Dependencies.

Minister of State for Courts and Justice Sir Oliver Heald QC MP has finished his three-day tour of the Bailiwick, the first time he has visited.

He met with political and industry representatives to discuss a range of current issues and priority matters, including maritime and health care.

Sir Oliver also had the chance to visit Les Nicolles prison, the Princess Elizabeth Hospital and Sark.

The visit proved timely following the recent triggering of Article 50 marking the start of the UK's negotiations with the EU.

Sir Oliver said the relationship between Guernsey and the UK was highly valued and a 'historic and special' one.

'We in the UK government take our responsibility in respect of the islands very seriously and my visit has been a useful opportunity to gain a valuable insight into government priorities.

'I leave with a better understanding of the range of domestic and international challenges that the islands are faced with.

'It has also been an opportunity to identify areas in which we can strengthen our relationship, particularly as we approach the negotiation period of the UK's withdrawal from the EU,' he said.

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Sir Oliver said the island had great strengths, including its finance and legal sectors.

'Clearly as we move into Brexit it is important nothing undermines that and we will try to ensure your voice is heard.

'Generally speaking, your government seems very clear about what needs to happen and that has been very impressive to see.'

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