Alarm clock at the ready for trial on Tynwald time limits

Politicians must now be concise with their contributions

Politicians must now be concise with their contributions

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The clock from TV’s Countdown might have been more impressive.

But the equipment used for an experiment on time-limited speeches in Tynwald was just as effective - if a little more rudimentary: a timer on a tablet computer, a smartphone and as back-up messenger Roger Lawrence’s bedside alarm clock!

No alarm bells would be ringing in Tynwald, however.

Instead, members were given five minute and one minute reminders by way of amber and red-bordered cards placed on a stand blu-tacked to the press bench - while a black-bordered card told them their time was up.

The trial of time-limited speeches was the result of a proposal put forward by Bishop Robert Paterson at the Tynwald sitting in March. He argued strict time limits on the contributions of MHKs and MLCs was not about stifling free speech, but about trying to make free speech work more efficiently. His idea had apparently been sparked during a lengthy discussion at one Tynwald sitting about bin wagons.

Under the experiment, making a statement and moving a report were limited to 20 minutes, moving any other motion 15 minutes, speaking to a motion or amendment 10 minutes and a maximum of five minutes was allowed for answering a tabled question or a question on a statement.

Tynwald president Clare Christian MLC retained a discretion to allow additional time on request, however.

The standing orders committee will review the trial and report back in November.


See today’s Manx Independent for comprehensive coverage of this week’s Tynwald session.

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