Speaker makes a bid for president

By IoM Today Reporter   |   Reporter   |
Wednesday 9th September 2020 1:00 pm
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Juan Watterson MHK ()

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Speaker Juan Watterson says only he has the experience required to be the next President of Tynwald.

The members of Tynwald will select its President for the 2021 to 2026 parliamentary session before the public go to the polls in September 2021.

However, if Mr Watterson gets his way, he won’t be facing the electorate as he has told MTTV’s Paul Moulton, he wants to be President.

He said: ’I am aware that Steve Rodan is probably not looking to do another term as President. The normal path would be that the Speaker would take on the role, because there would be no one else with any presiding officer experience to do the job.

’I think you do need an experienced presiding officer in that role [President of Tynwald] because that is the glue that holds the machine together.

’We’ve been very lucky here to have Steve Rodan for five years, who had 10 years as Speaker before that and has been very good in terms of teaching me some of the ways and means of this office.’

Mr Watterson pointed to Claire Christian and Noel Cringle who had long careers before rising to the role of President of Tynwald. However, Mrs Christian never served as Speaker.

The President is to be chosen at the July sitting next year following a vote of all the members of Tynwald and takes up the role immediately or ’straight off the bat’ as Mr Watterson told MTTV.

He added that if he was chosen to be President, he would miss being an MHK, describing it as a ’joy and a privilege’.

As Speaker, Mr Watterson is currently paid £69,566.40 per year, which comes from the basic £43,479 basic pay for a member plus the 60% uplift he gets as Speaker. Members are also paid £7,403.60 in no questions asked expenses.

Under the current system, if he were to be made the next President, his pay would actually decrease to £65,218.50, plus expenses, as the President of Tynwald on receives a 50% uplift on top of the basic pay.

However, a review into Tynwald members’ pay back in January recommended changes to how the roles were paid, which would include pay rise for the next President but a decrease for the Speaker.

Under that proposal, all members would receive a basic salary of £65,098.

The President, the Speaker and all ministers, with the exception of the Chief Minister, would then receive an uplift in pay of 15%, bringing their total taxable pay to £74,863 for each.

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