Environment Minister Geoffrey Boot has told Gef that a video in which he tells a constituent to ‘go back to Ireland’ was taken out of context.
The video of Mr Boot, who was out canvassing in Glenfaba and Peel, has gone ‘Manx viral’ in the past couple of days, with many people sharing and retweeting it on social media.
Ooná Campbell, whose CCTV recorded her discussion with Mr Boot, told Gef that she had quizzed Mr Boot on several topics including: ‘What was it that he has achieved in his 5 years tenure as an MHK?’ When Mr Boot said the large number of pieces of legislation required by Brexit was an achievement, she asked him was it vastly different from the UK’s legislation and insinuated that it was a ‘copy and paste job’, something she said Mr Boot denied and highlighted that the Manx Brexit legislation secured fisheries protections, showing his department had done other work.
Mrs Campbell, who allowed Gef to see more of the video, said that after this they had a disagreement about the island’s climate target of net zero emissions, which the gov opposed bringing forward to 2035. Mr Boot proclaimed that the Manx Public did not want the target for 2035 and it was impossible to meet. Mr Boot questioned the constituents on what measures they would suggest to tackle climate change and a discussion on Industrial Hemp and the recent Cannabis legislation ensued.
The last line of questioning, which rallied Mr Boot, was addressing how the next government would uphold and protect the human and constitutional rights and freedoms of Manx citizens.
Following on from this, Mrs Campbell said: ‘Boot repeatedly asked “Do you think the Isle of Man is a good place to live?”. It was highlighted to Mr Boot that he came to my door to be questioned about your campaign and not to question the constituents. Boot proclaimed he was an adult conversing and got quite aggressive here. Boot turned and this is the snippet you see in the video where he tells me to “Go back to Ireland then”.’
Mrs Campbell added: ‘Cue my husband who informed him that he is “Manx born and bred”. Mrs Campbell informed Boot this was on CCTV and it has captured him speaking to us like he has done. Boot then shouted “I am not going to stand here any longer”. He was told that’s fine, but you can’t tell me to go back to Ireland.’ After this, Mrs Campbell says Mr Boot said he came to ask for their votes but could see he wouldn’t be getting it so it was pointless talking to them. Her husband then asked Mr Boot ‘is there a partridge in that tree there’? This was in reference to an abandoned plan by DEFA to allow for the importation of grey partridges as game birds.
When Gef contacted Mr Boot to ask him to comment on the video, he said: ‘I had heard that someone in Foxdale had posted this, a very inappropriate use of the forum and completely without context.’
After further questions about the context of the video, Mr Boot said: ‘There are two sides to every story and as an experienced MHK you can be assured that there is a lack of context here. You may note that only this part of a 5 minute plus conversation has been aired!’
Mr Boot is standing in the constituency of Glenfaba and Peel, the other candidates are: Trevor Cowin, Tim Crookall, Leon Cussons, Ray Harmer, Michael Lee and Kate Lord-Brennan.