• September 11, 2019

When pressed by Claire Bettison MHK earlier this year (over the Saudi pilot training issue) on the relationship the Isle of Man Government has with the United Kingdom on Defence matters and how much data or information they hold the Chief Minister (CM) was decidedly evasive (see link):


The CM seemed to be saying ‘we don’t know and indeed why should we, the IOM airport is open to anyone’s military and the issue of how the UK interacts with Mann for Defence purposes is a matter for them’.

However this is not the case and the relationship is defined VERY SPECIFICALLY by no less a person than Elizabeth R (Queen of England and Lord on Mann). Quote:

‘And should it become expedient for any of Our Armed Forces or those of Our Allies to be in Our said Island you are to establish contact between their Commanding Officers and the other Civil authorities there and to request such steps to be taken by those authorities as are necessary to promote the purpose for which the said Forces are in our said Island


It’s quite clear that UK forces accessing facilities here for the UKs ‘Armed Forces or those of (their) Allies’ should be liaising with the ‘Civil authorities’ – one assumes that is the Manx government? It seem that a ‘request’ would be made and the Civil authorities are expected to respond to this. So where’s the paperwork which ‘promotes the purpose’ for training Saudi pilots (or other odds and sods) here?

The only other ambiguity is whether the Saudi State is an ‘ally’ of the United Kingdom in the sense defined in ‘Elizabeth Rs statement’ which at the time it was framed, the supporting documentation would suggest, was indicative of ‘North Atlantic Treaty’ partners.

On that latter point I have sought a view from the United Kingdom Ministry of Justice.

Image: RAF Hawk T2 trainers at RAF Valley – Used to train Saudi and Gulf States pilots they also use Ronaldsway (IOM) Civil airport,

Bernard Moffatt

Assistant General Secretary Celtic League ( 7th September 2019)

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