MHKs who lose elections could get their compensation pay, no matter what their age

By Sam Turton  
Saturday 17th September 2022 4:00 pm
@TurtonSam
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Martyn Perkins MHK

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Tynwald is to be asked to back a change in policy that would remove an age restriction for members of Tynwald who lose elections to get a pay-out.

Under the Members of Tynwald (Resettlement Grant) Scheme 2018, any member who seeks re-election but loses is paid six months’ salary.

The main exception to this is members who are over the age of 60, who are considered to have reached ‘pensionable age’.

This has led to two cases before the equality tribunal, which will see former MHKs Geoffrey Boot and Martyn Perkins, who both lost their seats in last year’s General Election, claim that despite being over 60 they should still receive the money.

When it looked at the issue, the Standing Committee of Tynwald on Emoluments (or members’ pay) said this was because ‘the assumption appears to have been made that a defeated member aged 60 or over would be content to take their Tynwald members’ pension rather than a resettlement grant’.

It added: ‘This reform has resulted in a “cliff edge” situation where a member aged 59-and-a-half at the time of an election can access the scheme, whereas a member aged 60-and-a-half at the time of the election cannot.

‘We do not regard this as satisfactory. We consider, therefore, that the age qualification should be removed.’

The committee has also recommended one other rather large reform, cutting the amount of money paid to MHKs who lose their seats.

Currently, a member who seeks re-election but loses receives a ‘resettlement grant’ equal to six months’ salary. This means a member who is rejected by the public will receive £31,888 for losing their job.

However, the committee said this should be amended to a third of their annual pay, in effect four months’ salary, so members would receive £21,258.66.

Currently this does include all members of Tynwald, with the exception of the President. The committee has also recommended that this be amended so that ‘this anomaly should be addressed’.

Whether that in effect changes anything remains to be seen, given the non-political status of the President of Tynwald, while there may be a contested election when a vacancy emerges, it would be unusual for another member to challenge a sitting President if they were to seek another five year term.

Even a president seeking re-election seems less like now than before, while Sir Charles Kerruish and Noel Cringle both served two terms, their successors Claire Christian (not that one) and Steve Rodan have both bowed out after five years.

A fourth recommendation of the committee is that where a member is suspended for more than the rest of that day’s sitting, it will be up to Tynwald to decide how much of that member’s pay is reduced pay, with provision for their entire salary to be withheld.

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