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Council of Ministers expresses concern with initial decision for Tynwald to sit virtually

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At a meeting of the Council of Ministers this morning – which took place in person – ministers expressed concern at the initial decision by the Deputy President of Tynwald to hold this week’s sitting of Tynwald virtually.

It would have meant that members of Tynwald would not have been able to attend the sitting in person in the Tynwald Chamber. The initial decision was taken because of an increase in COVID-19 cases on the Island and health concerns raised by some members of Tynwald. 

Following concerns with the approach raised by some members, a compromise was found to hold the sitting in a hybrid form, with members able to sit in the chamber or attend virtually.

Members of the Council of Ministers have taken their seats in the Tynwald Chamber this morning, as normal.

The Chief Minister Howard Quayle MHK said:

'It was disappointing and concerning that Mr Deputy President took the initial decision to hold this month’s sitting of Tynwald virtually.

'I am of course sympathetic to the concerns some Tynwald members may have. But the public understandably expects Tynwald and Government to lead from the front and set an example.

'Our teachers are in their classrooms, government’s public counters are open, and our community is working together so that people can go about their lives as normally as possible. This is part of adapting to live in a world with COVID-19, which has been made possible thanks to the protection offered by our vaccination programme.

'A number of members, myself included, received representations from the public over the signal the initial decision to hold a virtual Tynwald sent. It is the view of the Council of Ministers that this decision created a perception that there is one rule for politicians and one rule for everyone else.

'I appreciate that Government and Tynwald are often blurred in the public consciousness, but I wish to make clear that this was a parliamentary decision by Tynwald, not a decision by the Council of Ministers or the Isle of Man Government.'