Liberal Vannin Party argues right to free speech

Tynwald buildings, Douglas

Tynwald buildings, Douglas

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Liberal Vannin has defended comments by party founder Peter Karran that the island’s system of government is ‘institutionally corrupt’.

Onchan MHK Mr Karran made the comment in his nomination of Kate Beecroft as his successor as party leader – and later repeated it to the Examiner when he welcomed her election to the post.

It prompted Speaker Steve Rodan to issue a statement condemning Mr Karran’s remarks.

He said: ‘His accusation is patently unwarranted and untrue, and casts a slur on all Members of Tynwald.

‘Words like “corrupt” and “corruption” are heavy with meaning, and if cast around loosely like this without justification are deeply damaging to the general interests of the island. In addition, they are grossly offensive.’

Mr Rodan said he had been approached by and spoken with a ‘substantial number’ of MHKs, and having discussed the matter with Tynwald President Clare Christian, said he was confident that he reflected the general view of members when he ‘deprecated’ these remarks.

But the Liberal Vannin party hit back, insisting it did not believe there was anything inappropriate with Mr Karran’s remarks and suggesting Mr Rodan’s words were ‘more about trying to stifle free speech’.

In a statement, the party suggested that MHKs should look up the meaning of ‘institutional corruption’.

‘Why would individual MHKs and other Members of Tynwald feel that Mr Karran’s statement was casting a slur on them? It was not – as it was only critical of the system of government and not the individuals within it,’ it states.

‘Lib Van believe that any system of government where the income of all parliamentarians is dependent on one person ie the Chief Minister, is undemocratic and institutionally corrupt. We are entitled to have that opinion in the same way that others are entitled to disagree with us.’

It cited three issues – the Pinewood deal, the Sefton bail-out and problems with executive management at Noble’s Hospital – where the party said it believed that ‘this does show that the system is institutionally corrupt’.

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