The Tynwald class of 2021 meets for the final time this week as MHKs seek to be seen and heard, maybe even represent their constituents, ahead of this year’s General Election.
With a big order paper and questions still to come, members will likely be using at least two of their allotted three days so let’s see what they’ll be getting up to.
The first job of members will be to choose a new Tynwald President to replace the retiring Steve Rodan. There is no sentiment when it comes to the role as once his successor is chosen, Mr Rodan will be whisked away to chat to Ant and Dec with a glass of champers as they look back on his time in the camp. Ok almost none of that happens but it would make Tynwald more interesting if it did. Candidates to be El Presidente so far include Enterprise Minister Laurence Skelly and Speaker Juan Watterson.
After that, not one, not two, but three Ministers will be making statements as Policy and Reform chief Ray Harmer makes a statement on the climate change plan consultation, Education Minister Dr Alex Allinson makes a statement on the department’s future strategy and Infrastructure Minister Tim Baker outlines the concessionary travel scheme. Once that’s done, the Speaker will be making a statement on the Auditor General selection process.
Money, Money, Money
After the statements are over, Mr Baker will be asking Tynwald to spend a total of £3,305,585 on the public transport replacement project (more new buses), strategic structural maintenance and the secondary waste incinerator project.
Further down the order paper, members will examine the Chief Minister’s Community and Public Engagement Committee report, the Chief Constable’s annual report and the reports of various committees. The committee reports include the Public Accounts Committee’s look at the audit advisory division, the social affairs policy review committee’s report into mental health and suicide and the environment and infrastructure committe’s examination of the regulation of safety and quality of cow’s milk.
And if that isn’t enough, the backbenchers come into bat with their own motions as Jason Moorhouse wants to see the creation of a Covid memorial garden in the south of the island, Chris Thomas wants to see the The Town and Country Planning (Telecommunications) Development Order 2019 revoked and the Speaker wants to see the way the Budget is created reformed.
Elsewhere Clare Barber wants DEFA to explain how it lost the tender documents for the Meat Plant, Julie Edge wants Tynwald to agree that the terms of employment for CEOs of gov depts and boards ‘should include annual performance-related targets; and that the pay structure for such officers should be reviewed to include a performance-related element’ and Mr Thomas wants to see a report into the future provision of the island’s libraries while ensuring the Family Library is supported by public funding.
And before members can slink off into the summer nights and hit the campaign trail, they will also consider another motion from Mr Thomas on the report for unoccupied urban sites, Mr Moorhouse’s push for responses to Tynwald members’ enquiries to gov depts, boards and offices should be timely and appropriate, Daphne Caine will move a general debate on the merits of appointing a Children’s Commissioner for the Isle of Man and Chris Robertshaw’s final act as an MHK will be to move a General Debate on the management of capital projects.