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‘Expect flood of people if Corbyn wins power’

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A ‘FLOOD of people’ may be heading towards Guernsey if Jeremy Corbyn wins power in the UK, according to Brexiteer Jacob Rees-Mogg.

Conservative Brexiteer MP Jacob Rees-Mogg speaks via video link at a GFSC conference at St James. (Picture by Will Green, 24330305)

The high-profile Conservative MP made the prediction as he took part in the Guernsey Financial Services Commission’s annual conference, which focused on Brexit and was held at St James yesterday.

His comment amid speculation that Prime Minister Theresa May’s government could yet disintegrate over Brexit divisions and end with a general election – with a left-wing Labour Corbyn government victorious.

‘I think you shall have a lot of people coming to live in Guernsey if Jeremy Corbyn gets elected because everybody will want to come in,’ said Mr Rees-Mogg, who was unable to attend in person because of the Brexit turmoil, in a video interview with GFSC director-general William Mason.

‘I think the prospects for a flood of people applying to live in Guernsey will be enormous.’

He also criticised fellow party MP Andrew Mitchell and Labour’s Dame Margaret Hodge for trying to ride roughshod over constitutional conventions by imposing controversial laws on the Crown Dependencies.

The pair have led a campaign to force public registers of beneficial ownership on Guernsey, Jersey and the Isle of Man, despite warnings that the UK Parliament does not normally legislate for the islands on domestic matters.

‘I think we should stick to the constitutional arrangements,’ said Mr Rees-Mogg. ‘The Channel Islands have particular constitutional arrangements which this legislation sought to override, and I think that is a mistake.’

Describing it as ‘bad law-making,’ he added: ‘If you override conventions of this kind you essentially have arbitrary law.

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‘In truth, we shouldn’t be legislating for you in this way at all. So, I think the primary argument is a constitutional one rather than one of explaining what you do is fine regardless.’

The event also heard P&R president Gavin St Pier warn that MPs risked ‘breaching nine centuries of constitutional precedent which would undoubtedly cause us to question and re-evaluate our relationship with the UK’.

‘Let’s be unambiguous. Any legislation that is made will be inoperative and unenforceable. Such a move attempts to undermine our democracy and autonomy. It smacks of colonialism.’

Guernsey’s existing register was effective, said Deputy St Pier who added: ‘We want to work with the UK Government and the relevant international bodies to achieve the objective of developing standards to increase the effectiveness of registers of beneficial ownership around the world.’

Will Green

By Will Green
Business Editor

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