Well, if we are still unsure about “the meetings” I guess a statement taken from the www.parliament.uk site would be pretty convincing? If evidence is what you seek then it looks like this could be it:
There are regular meetings between officials in the Ministry of Justice and their counterparts in the Isle of Man and it would not be possible to list each one. Some of these meetings have taken place in the Isle of Man, some in the Ministry of Justice and some in other Government Departments. In general no formal or permanent record of these meetings is kept and most often action points are agreed between the respective officials. http://www.parliament.the-stationery-office.co.uk/pa/cm200708/cmhansrd/cm080304/text/80304w0026.htm
Are all MHKs aware of this? I could name one who claimed this was news to him. He went on to say that it had been impressed upon him that minutes are to be kept. So could it be that our members dutifully fulfill their ‘obligations’ while some are apparently unaware that things work differently at other levels. The meetings described by Mr Wills appear to be extremely high level. Is it not just a little puzzling that these statements/documents are publicly available and yet our media does not appear to have broached this topic – as always please comment if you feel this could be an inaccurate view – it has certainly not caught my attention anyway. And wouldn’t you think this is of enormous importance to us all?
Returning to Mr Llewellyn Jones’ Memo to the Justice Committee we learn that he submitted an unsuccessful Freedom of Information request to obtain information about a particular meeting. The refusal stated that:
Disclosure would be likely to undermine the relationships the UK Government has with the Crown
disclosure would be likely to result in officials being less
willing to provide free and frank advice to Ministers
I rest my case.
What can you do? I plan to print out this (and/or other) references to these meetings and ask my candidates for their opinions – and whether they support the introduction of the FOI Act..