The Isle of Man is to host the 2018 Conference of Speakers and Presiding Officers of the Commonwealth (CSPOC), the Speaker of the House of Keys, the Steve Rodan SHK, has confirmed after returning from the 22nd CPSOC plenary in Wellington, New Zealand.
More than 50 Commonwealth Speakers and presiding officers were among the 180 delegates who attended the conference at Wellington’s Parliament Buildings between January 21st and 24th hosted by the Speaker of the House of Representatives, the Rt Hon David Carter.
Mr Rodan, who was accompanied by the Clerk of Tynwald Roger Phillips, said: ‘I am pleased that the conference accepted the offer extended by Madam President and me to hold the 2018 CSPOC plenary in the Isle of Man.
‘I am delighted that the conference has entrusted the Isle of Man to host this prestigious biennial event in 2018, the first time a nation as small as ours has been afforded the honour. Importantly, CSPOC 2018 presents a unique opportunity to showcase the Island and the Manx parliamentary system to the world. I look forward to joining with Madam President and Members of Tynwald in welcoming Speakers and Presiding Officers of the Commonwealth “family” to our shores to further the valuable discussions and deepen the lasting relationships the CSPOC plenary encourages.’
Mr Rodan also expressed his gratitude to the New Zealand Parliament for having arranged a stimulating and rewarding programme, which focused on reconnecting parliaments with the public and parliamentary privilege.
In a workshop themed ‘Parliamentary Privilege – protecting the effective functioning of democracies’ delegates heard Mr Speaker expand on a paper he had delivered which looked at the subject from a small jurisdiction’s perspective. He told his audience: ‘The concerns about privilege in the Isle of Man mirror to a great extent those expressed in other jurisdictions. The Isle of Man’s law is special, however, in that the Bill of Rights 1689 does not apply, so the courts can interfere in decisions of Tynwald,’ adding: ‘Perhaps the Isle of Man is an example of what the future holds for jurisdictions which, up to now, have avoided interference by the courts in parliamentary affairs.’
Mr Rodan went on to suggest that ‘privilege’ might be an ‘unfortunate’ word in a modern context. He said: “‘Rights of Parliament” would be better, as it is all about the rights of the people’s representatives to carry out their functions.’
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