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51% in favour of removing Bishop's vote

Results of consultation show split in opinion

The results of a consultation into whether the bishop should retain the right to vote in Tynwald show an almost even split in opinion, with a slight majority in favour of removing it.

A total of 2,934 people responded with their thoughts on Lawrie Hooper MHK's proposal, with 51 per cent in favour of the bishop retaining a seat in Tynwald but losing the vote and 49 per cent against.

On the matter of prayers before Tynwald sittings, 52 per cent were in favour of them being removed, 48 per cent against.

Meanwhile, twelve correspondents were in favour of the Bishop losing the seat in court but retaining the vote - a state of affairs Mr Hooper writes he 'hadn't considered'.

In his conclusion, Mr Hooper states: 'I would view these results with caution. The sample was self-selecting and represents only about 3% of the total Island population.'

'It was also apparent those in opposition to the Bill promoted the consultation much more widely than I did. I conclude this as nearly 50% of the paper submissions were delivered by 5 people, all of which expressed the same view, which is evidence of a co-ordinated effort for which these enterprising individuals should be applauded.

'As a result I am of the view that those voting in support of the Bishop's right to vote are likely over-represented in the responses.'  

Onchan MHK Rob Callister has already given his reaction to the document, released this morning, saying it shows there isn't a 'strong desire' or 'significant outcry' for any changes to be made.

It was due to Mr Callister's amendment during one of the Bill's readings that a consultation was called - with 13 MHKs in favour and 11 voting against. 

Lawrie Hooper told Manx Radio Mr Callister's reaction this morning is exactly what he expected and he's unsure whether the consultation, which he views as an 'attempt to stall' the Bill, was worth the time and effort:

The Bishop, of the Church of England Diocese of Sodor and Man, sits on the Legislative Council. Currently, the position of Bishop remains unfilled following the retirement of Rt Reverend Peter Eagles last year.

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