THE time has come for a rethink on the operation of collective responsibility, according to Douglas South MHK Kate Beecroft.
At Today’s Tynwald sitting, Mrs Beecroft is tabling a motion calling for an ‘open, transparent and democratic system’ to enforce the process.
The concept of collective responsiblity means politicians who are members of a government department are obliged in most circumstances to support and vote in favour of that department’s policies.
Mrs Beecroft said: ‘When those ministers are appointed they agree to be bound by collective responsibility and if they do not support it they will resign.’
The exception she said was for someone who held a pre-stated position on a particular issue or if something was a constituency matter.
‘Mr Karran had very publicly stated his position on Pinewood and you have Bill Henderson (who was sacked for not supporting the tuition fees policy) who never even cast a vote.
‘But no account seems to be taken of the fact that a manifesto pledge is a pre-stated position,’ she said.
‘People are bound by their department and that is probably right.
‘Brenda Cannell and I are members of the Department of Environment Food and Agriculture and we have to support what DEFA does or resign or be moved on.’
But she said the effect was that some departments automatically had an in-built majority on certain matters.
The principle has already seen the sacking of former Education Minister Peter Karran over the Pinewood deal, Other notable casualties include John Houghton (Douglas North) and Zac Hall (Onchan) over pre-school provision.
She said in an ideal world it would be better if prospective chief ministers had to put their manifesto to the people:’But that’s a long way off,’ she said.
With the non-party political system operating in the island, she said voters were wholly reliant on a candidate’s manifesto pledges to see their beliefs and values. Because the chief minister is selected after the election and he in turn puts together his council of ministers, she said voters could have no prior idea of government policy for the next five years.
‘It’s not democratic because what you have is a coalition party governed by rules that are formed after the election. It’s a party governed by stealth.
‘Most of the public don’t realise this and I think it accounts for voter apathy.
Search for a job
Search for a car
Search for a house
Weather for Isle of Man
Sunday 19 May 2013
Temperature: 9 C to 15 C
Wind Speed: 13 mph
Wind direction: South
Temperature: 8 C to 14 C
Wind Speed: 23 mph
Wind direction: North west