Boot and Harmer to Seek Five More Years

Environment Minister Geoffrey Boot and Policy and Reform Minister Ray Harmer have announced they will both seek re-election in September.

Mr Boot has represented the constituency since 2016 and formerly represented Glenfaba since 2015 after being elected in a by-election following David Anderson’s appointed to the Legislative Council.

Geoffrey Boot

Mr Harmer has been MHK for Glenfaba and Peel since the constituency was created in 2016 and formerly represented Peel after winning a by-election in 2015 after Tim Crookall was elevated to LegCo.

Ray Harmer

In a joint statement, they said: ‘ We have both been asked on numerous occasions whether we are going to stand in the forthcoming general election and we can both confirm that we will be. It’s been an honour to serve the constituency and Island as a whole.

‘Whatever our personal views it has always been our stance that we would work together to fight for the best outcome for the constituency and for our island. No-one could have imagined the tough challenges that the island would face when we started on this journey. Despite this, the island has stayed strong and resilient. Working together has never been more important.

‘Perhaps the biggest expected challenge when this administration started was Brexit but for the Isle of Man the challenge of Brexit is all but over. While it is still posing challenges, our fishing and agricultural communities have come out of it well. We still have access to European markets, albeit with increased paperwork and bureaucracy but from a fishing community perspective we have actually restricted access to foreign vessels and will in due course recover valuable quota.

‘Both of us have been at the heart of a Climate Change Bill which sets us on a path to net zero by 2050. We have been working with the Climate Change Transformation Board with input from Citizens Forum as well as our advisor Professor Curran to maximise CO2 reduction and minimise the cost to the Island, as well as bring the community with us. Our biosphere status has enabled buy-in right across the spectrum.

‘Finally the world pandemic overtook us and it became Covid. Who would have believed the transformation that has taken place in the last 12 plus months. Prompt action and community buy-in meant that despite the tragic death of 29 people (as this is written) we have been able to contain outbreaks and unlike the rest of the UK enjoyed 7 plus months of normal living with the exception of border controls, during the Summer/Autumn/Winter of last year. During the crisis periods Council of Ministers has been meeting on occasions daily and sometimes two or three times a day to lead and keep up with events. We have taken advice and analysed data from Public Health and the medical profession. The National Health Service coped and we offer our thanks to all the staff that work around Public Health and the Health Service. We maintained resilience throughout although this has led to the inevitable backlog of routine treatment and diagnosis. We have now moved from elimination to mitigation; the very successful vaccine programme is playing its part in normalising life and hopefully our borders.

‘Our economy has taken a hit and we know that many people are worried about the future. Fortunately prudent budgeting in earlier years has meant that we do have a reserve for that rainy day and this last year has been our rainy day. As a result the last budget kept taxes very much as they were. The last thing we need to do is increase them when many are struggling. Now is the time to build our economy.

‘So briefly looking to the future, the pandemic has shown how well our community can work together. This administration is leaving a good legacy in terms of sound financial management and of course Public Health. We must continue to promote and share our interests with the UK as a whole, that includes industry and manufacturing, financial services, agriculture and fisheries. The west of the island is our home and is extremely important to us. We want to see our people and businesses flourish.’

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