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​Charlie Shimmins | August 2016


My name is Charlie Shimmins, and this month has been my first in the role of Parliamentary Intern at Tynwald, the parliament of the Isle of Man. I have been interested in politics since studying it here on the Island at A-Level, before spending the last three years reading International Politics and Conflict Studies at Queen’s University Belfast. Now back on the Island, I am really excited to have the opportunity to witness the activities of Tynwald from the inside. In particular, I am looking forward to the opportunity to contribute to the work of the parliament through involvement with various committees, and in any other way I can.


I have joined Tynwald at a time of change, with the House of Keys being dissolved in my first week. With a new House of Keys arriving and a new parliamentary session commencing, there have been a number of tasks to complete to keep things up to date. I have been working on the new version of the Tynwald Companion, which is published every five years and serves as a ‘user’s manual’ of sorts for parliamentarians, officials and the public alike. In particular, I needed to update a chapter documenting every committee report published since 2011. While a daunting task, it was an excellent way of gaining a deeper understanding of how the work of Tynwald is carried out through the system of committees and their reports. Similarly, I have been hard at work designing the layout for the Tynwald Annual Report 2015-2016, a summary of the activities of the parliament over the last session. Whilst some information will only be available after the General Election on the 22nd September, I have been able to produce a design framework around which the final version of the report can be compiled.


One of the most enjoyable aspects of the intern role thus far has been leading guided tours of the Tynwald chambers, which take place twice a week and are free for the public to attend. I have enjoyed learning the history of the buildings and of Tynwald and while my first tour was perhaps a bit notecard-heavy, I’m sure that with time I’ll be able to deliver the tour with confidence. It’s very rewarding to show visitors to the Island our parliament and answer their questions, or rather as many as I can.


In my fourth week, I’ve been working towards a new initiative that would see every vote taken in Tynwald published in an easily searchable format on the Tynwald website. The voting results are already accessible online through Hansard and the published Votes and Proceedings, but now the data is now easily accessible via a simple to use search function.. Changes to the accessibility of information like this all serve to increase the transparency and accountability of Tynwald, something that the parliament is already proud to receive international praise and commendation for.


I’m now eagerly looking forward to the parliamentary session of 2016-2017. With new Members of the House of Keys, a new Speaker, Chief Minister and Council of Ministers it’s certain to be an interesting year in Manx politics and I’m keen to play a part in it.