MHKs won’t be charged for searching public records

Tynwald buildings, Douglas

Tynwald buildings, Douglas

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Searches of public records should be free to Tynwald members.

That the recommendation of a report by the Tynwald Management Committee that won the overwhelming support of the court at last week’s sitting.

Committee chairman, Speaker Steve Rodan, said the sums involved were not large but it was the principle that was important.

He said public representatives, both individually and collectively in committees, should have the automatic right to access publicly held material without charge.

Mr Rodan said the issue was first raised by Douglas North MHK John Houghton who found the General Registry had customarily not levied a charge to Tynwald members to examine deeds and other papers but there was no formal arrangement for this.

The Speaker said this exemption from charges was changed last summer.

Treasury Minister Eddie Teare said he believed it was not appropriate for the fees to be waived and that members’ expenses were designed to cover this sort of cost. The Council of Ministers considered the matter but said charges should apply to all.

Concerns were expressed in Tynald that people might go to their MHK to ask them to carry out their own private search.

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