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September 2022 - James Holmes

At the end of my internship I have had time to reflect on my time in the Office of the Clerk of Tynwald and the work I have undertaken. Looking back I can see that I have been focused on writing reports and doing research, but I have also been involved in ceremonial work in Chambers and at St John’s.


The majority of my work has been focused on conducting research, primarily for Members, but also for the general public and outside organisations, as well as requests from within the Office. The areas of my research are quite diverse.

A lot of my research has been for the Select Committee on the Historic Built Environment. This research has included such things as:

·         Built heritage legislation in the Home Nations, the Republic of Ireland, the Channel Islands and Gibraltar;

·         Reviewing the public evidence the Committee has received and analysing it for recurring themes;

·         Petitions that have been presented to Tynwald since 2011;

·         Questions that have been asked to the President under a Standing Order;

·         The outcomes of tribunal cases against the government;

·         The history of the Douglas horse trams; and

·         The Sulby Claddagh

As well as conducting my own research, I proofread the research conducted by the other members of the Research and Scrutiny Support Team. All work is proofread before being published, providing a second pair of eyes and an another person’s perspective.

Assistant Clerk

Part of my work has involved serving as an Assistant Clerk for various committees of Tynwald. When I started, I was excited to hear that I would be Assistant Clerk to the Tynwald Select Committee on the Historic Built Environment. I have always had a passion for history, having studied it for GCSE, A-Level and at Bachelor’s degree. Another reason to be excited to work on this Committee was the fact that one of its Members, Mr Moorhouse MHK, was my old high school geography and business studies teacher.

I also served as the Assistant Clerk to the Public Accounts Committee.

In both these roles, it is my job to take notes of what is being said, by the Chairs and Members, as well as parties giving evidence if required. Afterwards, I share my work with the Clerk of the Committee, and both our works are integrated into the final minutes. This is then filed and shared between all relevant parties.


On Tynwald Day, everybody from the Office was involved with the ceremony in some way. In my case, I was serving as a church usher; this involved guiding the dignities to their seats before the service, and leading the procession to the hill for the Promulgation of laws, before leading them back to the church for the Captioning Ceremony. And I must say, it was very hot out there, wearing a three-piece suit in the brilliant sun! 

I served a similar role at the Second Proclamation of the Lord of Mann at St John’s in September.

Towards the end of the parliamentary year, I also assisted the Corporate and Engagement teams working as a messenger in the Tynwald chamber.

Engagement and Outreach

A small part of the job involves giving tours to ad hoc groups of people, usually those who are visiting beyond the usual tour hours. These groups are usually holidaymakers, or students with real interest in politics. I show the groups around all three Chambers, showing off their histories, and the histories of individual artefacts therein, such as the horns on the Speaker’s desk in the House of Keys, the President’s throne in the Legislative Council, and the rolls cupboard and register book in the Tynwald chamber. In addition, I sometimes serve as an extra pair of hands during regular tours, if the tour party is quite large.

I have also played parts in representing the Island internationally. During my time here, Tynwald has played host to visiting dignitaries from Pakistan, and the British Virgin Islands; with the former, I was involved in touring the Chambers and guiding them to various talks from government colleagues.

Moreover, I played a small but vital part of Tynwald’s Education Programme in Junior Tynwald as I served as the Deputy Clerk. I wore the cloak and wig of the Clerk. As Deputy Clerk, my main task was to announce the President of Tynwald’s arrival to the Chamber. It brought back memories of my own involvement in Junior Tynwald 2015 and I am proud of the achievements I have made over the last seven years and I am looking forward to the next chapter in my career.

I have enjoyed my time at the Clerk of Tynwald’s Office. I have built bridges and made connections. The work has been enjoyable, and it has also been varied; this has taught me how a government works, the numerous small tasks that go into its everyday operations, and the diverse range of topics that a government deals with on a daily basis. I hope that I can use the skills I’ve learned from this job in the future.