SUCCESSFUL election candidates will have to declare all their interests over the past year within a month of being voted in, under plans to be put to Tynwald.
The proposed changed to the rules on Tynwald members’ interests come in the wake of the controversy surrounding the Douglas East by-election when it emerged that an anonymous trust was funding one of the candidates, Kevin Woodford.
There are no powers to require candidates to disclose their interests before an election. But all members of Tynwald have to declare their interests on election.
But the Council of Ministers, following recommendations from its governance committee, asked the Tynwald standing committee on standards and members’ interests to look at the rules again.
And the committee has concluded in its annual report that MHKs should have to declare all interests backdated to the 12 months before the election. They would have to do this within a month of being elected.
Committee chairman Steve Rodan told the Examiner: ‘Knowing they have to declare, candidates will have to consider very carefully any sources of funds or what their interests might be as these will become matters of public record.’
The committee took legal advice on whether declaring interests would contravene the right to privacy under the Human Rights Convention and concluded that right to privacy had to be balanced with the public right to be governed fairly and to be informed about possible conflicts of interest and personal advantage.
The committee also proposes changing the rules to reduce the minimum cost of gifts that have to be declared to £50 per item or a total of £1,000 in any one year.