Ministers accused of pushing through policy without debate

Tynwald buildings, Douglas

Tynwald buildings, Douglas

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Isle of Man Government Ministers stand accused of attempting to push though major policy changes without Tynwald debate.

There were no fewer than nine statements made by Ministers in Tynwald this week – a situation described by both Tynwald President Clare Christian and Speaker Steve Rodan as ‘unprecedented’.

Among the statements was one by Education Minister Tim Crookall announcing that the island will break away from the English GCSE system.

Mr Rodan questioned why such a ‘momentous’ change in policy had been made by way of a ministerial statement. He said this was an issue, well trailed in advance and subject to extensive consultation, which will ‘radically affect every child in this island’.

Mr Rodan queried why no report had been laid before Tynwald with a motion for debate.

He said: ‘This is turning into an extended question time – except we don’t know what the questions are going to be. It’s unprecedented – I’ve never seen anything like it.’

President of Tynwald Clare Christian suggested CoMin should consider whether statements were the best vehicles to convey some of these points.

Other statements covered regularising of loans to Sefton Group, collective responsibility, £2.08m extra funding to cover a pay award and future funding of care for the elderly.

Mr Crookall admitted the number of statements was unprecedented but insisted in his department’s case, ‘speed was the essence’ to give schools time to implement the new IGCSEs.

He said all that was changing was the exam board, not the curriculum.

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