The States met in session this week to yet again discuss Jersey’s plans for adopting conscription. This latest debate follows the Privy Council in London rejecting a proposed States’ deputation intent on clarifying Jersey’s position on the new law.
The impasse continues following the decision to introduce a specific Jersey Military Service Act rather than generally accept the UK one. The principal differences relate to controls over exemptions from military service, with the proposal being that the States can retain men employed by its committees or working in designated industries, chiefly agriculture. To date, the UK authorities have refused to permit this, stating that such controls should rest with the Lieutenant Governor.
During the debate, a number of Members made impassioned statements on the necessity of bringing the matter to a conclusion in the interests of the Island, pointing to the fact that Guernsey and Isle of Man have both adopted compulsory military service. The Attorney General also reminded Members that the new act has been the subject of 26 States and committee meetings to date.
Despite this, Members voted to reject the Privy Council’s recommendations by 30 votes to 17.
A/E/3 contains considerable correspondence between the island’s government, the Lieutenant Governor and the UK Government of the matter of introducing compulsory military service.