The opportunity to represent the Isle of Man at the 7th Commonwealth Youth Parliament (7CYP) held in Darwin, Northern Territory, Australia has been hailed ‘an incredible experience’ by 26-year-old Andrew Newton.
Mr Newton, (pictured, standing) who lives in Braddan and is an advocate with Appleby (Isle of Man) LLC, was nominated by the Isle of Man branch of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) to join more than 50 other young people from the Commonwealth participating in the event, held from November 1 to November 5 and hosted jointly by the CPA Secretariat and the Northern Territory Legislature.
Aimed at providing young people with an insight into parliamentary democracy, practice and proceedings and establishing links with like-minded participants from the Commonwealth ‘family’, 7CYP took as its theme: ‘Deepening the Commonwealth’s Commitment to Democracy and Youth Development.’
Reflecting on the experience Mr Newton said he was ‘indebted’ to the Isle of Man branch of the CPA for the opportunity to take part in the event where delegates could choose to serve as a Conservative, Progressive or Independent member. He continued: ‘I requested to be a Progressive and also sent in an advance application to lead the party, although I questioned at that time whether I actually had the requisite desire to be leader but embraced the opportunity to further integrate and converse with my peers in the parliament.’
After being elected leader and guiding his party into forming a shadow cabinet to oppose the Conservatives Mr Newton said the week was ‘electric with political intrigue’ and ‘political machinations’. His legal experience also proved invaluable, as he explained: ‘The Human Rights Bill was the next part of the parliament, involving a watered-down Bill being brought by the Conservatives [and] as our party had a number of lawyers in it we had made hay while the sun shone and prepared a catalogue of amendments.’
Mr Newton went on to say that the role of Chief Minister fell to him after the Progressives ultimately brought down the Conservative government. ‘The week was a fantastic opportunity and enabled me to develop my knowledge of standing orders, which I profess to have been completely ignorant of, and build a host of connections and relationships within the Commonwealth network.’
Chairman of the Isle of Man branch of the CPA Hon Juan Watterson MHK said: ‘Andrew’s account vividly illustrates the aims of the Commonwealth Youth Parliament, which seek to provide opportunities for young people to benefit from exposure to parliamentary proceedings and also for established parliamentarians to learn something of how the next generation might approach parliamentary politics. I am pleased that Andrew not only found the experience valuable but also that he represented the Isle of Man with what was clearly considerable élan.’
For further information:
Deputy Clerk of Tynwald
Legislative Buildings, Douglas, IM1 3PW
Tel: (01624) 685500