Public will have access to information in Tynwald briefings

Saturday 4th June 2022 6:21 am
Students and Tynwald members who took part in Junior Tynwald

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The public will have access to information on briefings to Tynwald members in future, the parliament’s management committee has agreed.

The Tynwald office previously refused to reveal any details of the regular meetings on the grounds that they were all confidential.

Now the Tynwald Management Commitee, chaired by Speaker of the House of Keys Juan Watterson, has decided there should be a presumption of openness around such information.

In an email to all members the committee says the new system should be in place by October this year. Members will still have the right to meet in private when necessary.

The move follows a campaign by Examiner columnist Alistair Ramsay, who submitted a Freedom of Information request seeking details of briefings held since the start of the new administration. This was refused by the Clerk of Tynwald’s Office on the basis that members were entitled to confidentially in briefing as a matter of parliamentary privilege.

Mr Ramsay commented: ‘The briefings are not formal proceedings, but they are part of parliament’s consideration of policy and legislation which is supposed to be a public process.

‘The new approach from the Tynwald Management Committee is a welcome step in the right direction. I hope the committee will work to ensure that as much information as possible is shared with the public in an accessible and timely fashion.’

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