HC Deb 19 July 1984 vol 64 cc500-1
8. .Mr. Foulkes

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he now expects to visit the Channels Islands.

Mr. Brittan

I am planning to visit the Channel islands in the early autumn.

Hon. Members

Hear, hear.

Mr. Foulkes

I wish the Home Secretary well on his visit. However, is he aware that, when he arrives, he will find that he has stirred up a hornets' nest by, quite rightly, asking the Channel Islands to contribute to the foreign affairs and defence costs of the United Kingdom? While I welcome that, as I am sure many hon. Members would welcome it, in view of the anxiety expressed in the House at the way in which those islands encourage tax dodging, and as we are defending Guernsey in the European Court of Human Rights on a strange decision that it made, would it not be better for the Home Secretary to institute an investigation into the constitutional relationship between those islands and the United Kingdom?

Mr. Brittan

I see no need for any such investigation. The request that I made for the islands to consider contributing to the United Kingdom costs, not just in respect of defence but in respect of international representation on their behalf, has nothing to do with the other matters that the hon. Gentleman has raised. If what I have done is the work of a hornet, my imagination does not allow me to describe the insect that would be an appropriate description of the hon. Gentleman.

Mr. Durant

Will my right hon. and learned Friend accept from me that he will receive a nice welcome in the Channel Islands? Will he take no notice of the views of the hon. Member for Carrick, Cumnock and Doon Valley (Mr. Foulkes) about taxation? The islands are an independent nation in respect of their own taxes. They are allowed to run their own tax system and they should be allowed to continue doing so.

Mr. Brittan

I am grateful to my hon. Friend for his reassurance. I assure the House that I much look forward to my visit and am heartened by the round of cheers that the announcement evoked.