After the excitement of Tynwald, MHKs are all alone this week as they seek to pick two new MLCs for LegCo.
There are seven nominees for the two seats vacated by Kate Lord-Brennan and Jane Poole-Wilson, with the two who get the most votes winning an all expenses paid trip to Hawaii!
Ok no they won’t, but they will win a seat in Tynwald until at least February 2023 and a salary of £63,776 so it’s not too shabby. Plus, incase I haven’t mentioned it in an hour or so, they don’t have to worry about being voted for by the taxpayer!
Once that is done with, it’s over to Question Time and, surprise surprise, the paper is dominated by MHKs from the south of the island. I often wonder why this keeps happening, it could be because the south doesn’t have any MHKs in CoMin, it could be something in the air or it could just be there like to be seen doing something, either way, they’re keeping the media in work.
Kicking off this week’s show, Dr Michelle Haywood will ask the Chief Minister: ‘What standards of conduct apply to Members of Tynwald and to Ministers; how any alleged breach would be addressed; and if he will make a statement?’
Up next is fan favourite Jason Moorhouse, who will ask Alf Cannan how entry channels at ports are assessed for aesthetic appeal. Mr Moorhouse has been on Facebook this weekend showing the state of Ronaldsway and the Sea Terminal and questioning whether they set the right first impression for our island, it’ll be interesting what comes as this as it is hard to argue that either building are shiny, but they are functional and it seems unlikely the gov would be looking at spending millions to replace them.
Following Mr Moorhouse is his constituency colleague Tim Glover who will ask Treasury Minister David Ashford what plans he has to deliver the Budget in a different format and whether departments will be expected to adopt a priority based budget model? The way the Budget has been presented has been made more accessible in recent years, but the whole process has often been criticised by Speaker Juan Watterson, for its take it or leave it style, so it will be interesting to see what comes of this.
Staying in the south, Dr Haywood is back with a question for Infrastructure Minister Tim Crookall to ask if he will issue notice to mariners to ensure clear fairways are available into harbours and through other passages of water which may be hard to navigate.
Then it’s back to Mr Moorhouse as he asks what steps Mr Crookall is taking to ensure regular flights to and from the Republic of Ireland. It has been well over a year since flights between Dublin and the Isle of Man ceased and with the world opening up, it has left islanders and indeed Irelanders facing a longer route between Ronaldsway and the Irish capital. Mr Moorhouse will stay with the airport and Mr Crookall as he asks what independent checks there are to ensure that those embarking and disembarking at Ronaldsway do so in a safe and dignified manner?
Once that flightpath has been completed, Mr Glover will ask Cabinet Office Minister Kate-Lord Brennan when the findings of the Public Health-led investigation into mental health provision will be released finding?
It comes to Chris Thomas to be the first non-South MHK to ask a question in Keys this week as he asks new MUA Chairman Rob Callister How the loan agreement between Treasury and Manx Utilities was modified in summer 2020; how this modification affected monies received from Manx Gas; and if he will make a statement? Mr Thomas will then ask OFT Chairman John Wannenburgh when he will publish the Office of Fair Trading report into Bus Vannin’s demand-responsive transport service; and if he will make a statement?
Mr Moorhouse finishes off his role in proceedings by asking Chair of the Climate Change Transformation Board Daphne Caine how many unique hits there were at netzero.im/cop26 on each of the five days before and after the publication of the Isle of Man Courier wraparound advertisement on the subject of climate change? In the UK some stories are considered ‘Westminster Bubble’ stories and this could indeed prove to be a ‘Tynwald Bubble’ question, but I expect this will receive some interesting media coverage next week.
Douglas North MHK John Wannenbugh will bring the show to a close with a question for the DoI Minister, as he asked what plans Mr Crookall has to review and consult on the Summer 2022 bus timetables.
Given the number of questions, this has the potential to be the first time we see the new CoMin decide whether or not to throw the block vote behind a decision to carry on or end the question paper once the given hour is up. But since the order paper has nothing else on it, for appearances sake alone, we can probably expect them to back ending the question paper.