MHK Julie Edge says that ‘the misogyny, the bullying, the intimidation has got to stop in parliament’.
She made the comment after she moved that Tynwald establish a select committee to consider and report on procedure and process for regulating the conduct of members and that the select committee should submit a report to Tynwald by the last day of January 2024.
Currently conduct investigations are undertaken by Tynwald members, but Ms Edge believes that they should take place independently.
She told members that in the previous administration, she was advised by another MHK that she was being reported to the Chief Constable.
She said: ‘I approached the Chief Constable Mr President, and he knew nothing about it, so it was a threat.
‘That is the behaviour that we have had in this place. I am not saying that we have it now, but we have had it.
‘I requested a meeting from the then Chief Constable. I felt that he didn’t have a clue of what I was talking about, and I had to endure that from the most senior minister that we could have in this house, and that was four months hanging over me.’
She added: ‘It certainly is very difficult as an individual member, to bring things forward to your own colleagues and it’s certainly not right.
‘I had nowhere to go at that point in time and I don’t want anybody in here to have to endure that behaviour.’
She later withdrew her comments as the member who she spoke about was not present to defend himself.
She said: ‘Governance starts at the top with us and without proper scrutiny of our actions and inactions and the way we conduct ourselves, and the things affecting the good governance of the island, we will not move forward.
‘The principles of the code of conduct and good governance have been recalled time and time again: openness, integrity, accountability, and in order to gain any public confidence in our governance, the conduct of members and how we apply those principles is paramount to try to gain the public trust we have lost in recent times.
‘I feel that confidence with all of us, and also externally, is at rock bottom and we need to fix this.’
While Arbory, Castletown and Malew MHK Tim Glover agreed that there was low confidence in the current administration, he believes that it is not due to whether Tynwald has a committee.
He said: ‘The reason there’s public disquiet out there has nothing to do with having a committee in here, it’s about what’s going on there in terms of Douglas promenade, Liverpool landing stage, the cost of living crisis and the Dr Ransom case, the system, the lack of open and transparency that there appears to be.’
Her motion was seconded by fellow Onchan MHK, Rob Callister, who mentioned issues with the investigation into his time as health minister.
It was amended by Tim Crook-all who, as a member of the existing standards and interests committee, which is responsible for member conduct, requested for individuals to take part in a review that is already taking place, instead of creating a new committee and a new review.
The amendment stated: ‘Tynwald notes that a review of its procedures is being undertaken by the Tynwald standards and members interest committee and requires that the committee submit a report to Tynwald by the last day of January 2024.’
The motion was approved as amended.
As she closed her statement, Ms Edge said: ‘My main focus is to make sure that honourable members know that this is a difficult environment to work in and we all need to make sure that we respect each other and look out for each other and we can all work together going forward.
‘I’d like to see a completely different atmosphere in here when we come back in October and I think one way to do that is to get complete independence.’