Of the 16 petitions for redress presented on this year’s Tynwald Day, only eight have been found to be in order by the Standing Orders Committee of Tynwald.

Petitions have, in the past, led to changes to the law on the island and most recently has seen a committee set up to explore the issue of the island’s footpaths.

The right of an individual to petition Tynwald is said to have existed from the earliest times. A petition procedure is described in an account of Tynwald Day in 1691. By 1900 any petitions had ceased to be considered by Tynwald itself. In 1957 written rules were introduced and the right has been exercised regularly in recent years.

Looking at the petitions found to be out of order, these included Reverend Canon Margaret Burrow’s petition for disabled access to the Chapel of St John, where part of the Tynwald Day ceremony is held.

The committee said of this: ‘The Petition of the Reverend Canon Margaret Burrow and others is out of order because it relates to a case which could be adjudicated upon by a tribunal (see Standing Order 6.11(c). We recognise that there is an exemption in the Equality Act 2017 for the exercise of a function of Tynwald, but we do not believe that this would preclude the petitioner from bringing the subject matter of her petition before the Equality and Employment Tribunal.

‘Reverend Canon Burrow’s Petition is supported by multiple signatories. Of these, 73 are accompanied by an address and 19 are not. It should be noted that to be counted as a petitioner, a signatory must give their address: a town, village or postcode is not enough. On that basis we consider that Petition [1] should be referred to as the Petition of the Reverend Canon Margaret Burrow and 73 others.’

Of the others, petitions numbers two and three, from Trevor Cowin, are out of order because they identify no personal grievance which has affected the petitioner, a similar decision was made in the case of petitions seven and eight from Graeme Jones.

Petitions five and six, also from Mr Cowin, are out of order because they seek an inappropriate remedy, it being impossible for one Committee of Tynwald to investigate another.

And David Watt’s petition was ruled out of order because it affects his daughter and others applying for university, but not him personally. The committee ruled: ‘Such students would be capable of petitioning in their own right, should they so choose.’

Drugs

Of those which were accepted was Ray Lakeman’s petition which saw renewed calls for drugs legislation to change on the island. Mr Lakeman, who lost two sons to drugs overdoses, said that he is ‘not particularly pro-drugs’, but is ‘opposed to legislation that isn’t fit for purpose and isn’t achieving what it’s set out to do’.