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Simons: Brexit vote dominated UK talks

Brexit, Britain's controversial referendum decision to exit the European Union, was the “focal point” of Prime Minister Theresa May's address at the Conservative Party Conference in Birmingham, environment minister Cole Simons said.

Mr Simons, who attended from October 2 — 5, said it had been “very clear” that the UK Government planned to start negotiations before March 31, 2017.

“These negotiations would be rooted in decisions that are made in the best interest of Britain,” Mr Simons said. “In addition, the British Government saw this as an opportunity to form new trade links and new partners.”

Ms May intends to trigger Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union, in accordance with the outcome of the June 23 vote. Mr Simons said the UK Government would repeal the European Communities Act, which decouples EU legislation from British legislation.

After Royal Assent, the UK Parliament would be free to legislate, subject to international agreements and treaties.

The Prime Minister said the British Government would “decide for ourselves how we control immigration” without the influence of the EU, which she said had been swayed by the movement of labour within the EU market.

Mr Simons said he believed that the vision of a “truly global Britain” would include “the devolved powers such as the Overseas Territories”.

Governments of the UK Overseas Territories are working alongside the UK Government to be involved in the process of the negotiations, in accordance with their constitutional relationships, to ensure that their views are taken into account.

Bermuda's London Office is now consulting with the UK Government through the Foreign Office, along with the Department for Exiting the European Union, to ensure that the interests of Bermuda were covered — including immigration, access to education, and the financial services industry.

On behalf of Michael Dunkley, the Premier, Mr Simons hosted a breakfast round table discussion with influential MPs and Conservative think tanks, a Cabinet Office statement said this evening.

It was co-hosted with Bernard Jenkins, MP, the Chair of the UK Select Committee on Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs.

Discussions focused on corporate governance and a debate on transformational and transactional leadership.

Mr Simons reported an interest in what Bermuda's parliamentary reform efforts to develop an independent Parliamentary Commission.

There was also a wide opinion on the UK Government's intended negotiations after Article 50 is evoked under the Lisbon Treaty (by 31 March 2017), and the impact not only in homeland UK but the devolved powers to include the Overseas Territories.

There was participation from Head of Taxation at the Institute of Directors.

Mr Simons provided some examples of Bermuda's current robust tax policy and structure, clarifying some of the inner workings of Bermuda's financial services system, to reduce “misconceptions of Bermuda being described as a tax haven”.

Bermuda's compliance record was discussed, including how many financial and professional institutions had complied with the extensive oversight and participation with the robust regime of Know Your Customer procedures arising from the Anti-Money Laundering and Anti-Terrorist Financing regulations.

Solvency II initiatives, along with business opportunities to businesses as a result of its ratification, were also discussed.

In addition, Mr Simons met with a variety of leading UK Government environment officials attending the conference.

Cole Simons

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Published October 09, 2016 at 6:44 pm (Updated October 10, 2016 at 1:46 am)

Simons: Brexit vote dominated UK talks

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