Online poll shows mood for reform

Tynwald buildings, Douglas

Tynwald buildings, Douglas

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There’s broad support for reform of the island’s parliamentary system, according to results of an online poll set up by Douglas South MHK Bill Malarkey.

Mr Malarkey presented the results of the survey to Lord Lisvane who told him that it provided a ‘window into a wider sample of opinion’.

There were some 336 respondents to the online poll. There was overwhelming support for the need to change the current three chambered parliament.

Some 56 per cent of respondents supported the idea of a single chamber. Nearly 90 per cent believed MLCs should be directly elected.

Mr Malarkey told Lord Lisvane: ‘There is a lot of discontent with regard to LegCo - how it’s elected, what its job is and what it gets paid.’

Giving his evidence to the review, Douglas West MHK Chris Thomas suggested there should be a referendum on the future structure of parliament. He said that only the directed elected members should be involved in public policy making and financial decisions.

Mr Thomas said there was a political and financial imperative for change. He pointed out that 60 per cent of the £5m Tynwald budget went on pay and present members’ pay and pensions and that sum had grown substantially in recent years.

‘It’s something in the public eye. You can’t help but notice perhaps the newspaper stands today, the front page of our local newspaper is all about the cost of members of Tynwald and it’s an easy target at the minute because they choose the sort of story that will make people buy the newspapers and this is one such story.’

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