Future MLC candidates to complete application form

Prospective candidates for the Legislative Council will have to fill out a formal application for the position in future in a raft of changes approved by the House of Keys.

The Standing Orders Committee made several recommendations to reform the process of electing members to the Manx parliament's upper chamber.

Committee member David Ashford said those putting their names forward being required to complete the form and provide a CV would make the process more "transparent".

MHKs also supported the panel's suggestions for updates to the way the island's chief minister is elected, including full speeches and formal questions.

The panel decided to review the procedures as part of a wider review of standing orders after the 2021 General Election.

Under previous rules, those put forward for vacant seats on the Council were not required fill out a formal application.

The 11 members of the council, which provides scrutiny of draft new laws, include eight MLCs who are chosen by members of the House of Keys.

The committee was made up of Speaker of the House of Keys Juan Watterson and MHKs Mr Ashford, Claire Christian, Joney Faragher, Tim Glover and Lawrie Hooper.

Its report it said the formal process would build on efforts to "open up" the procedure further to "make it more like a conventional recruitment process".

Instead of lobbying individuals for support, an "applicants’ conference” would give candidates the opportunity to "meet a large number of MHKs in a short time", they added.

'Public scrutiny'

During Monday's debate, Chris Thomas called for "wholesale transformation", which would see members selected by nomination via special interest groups, such as business and farming, to represent their interests.

That was rejected in favour of the committee's recommended reforms, which Mr Hooper said were a "very small step on the journey of democratic reform" that was "very much overdue on this island".

A raft of recommendations to the process of electing the island's chief minister included contenders delivering a speech to the house, something previously only allowed by the nominee's proposer and seconder.

MHKs will also be given more time to consider candidates' policies, with statements submitted at the same time as candidacy is confirmed seven days before the sitting.

Mr Ashford said the changes would allow for "proper public scrutiny of any candidates that come forward".

The updates to both procedures come into effect immediately and will be put into practice the next time either form of election takes place.

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