Blog 5 Mar 17The weeks continue to roll by, it’s the first week of March already and the honeymoon period is now appearing to be over as Members get down to the difficult business in hand.

In the office for 8.15 on Monday, just time to put the kettle on and have a quick chat with Bill Shimmins, MHK and Martyn Perkins, MHK who always seem to be in the office just before me.

The first task of the day was to put together a template for the 67 letters that will be sent out before the close of business today. Just before 9am I headed over to DED for an Industry Prep Day Briefing on the tourism get-together, which was being held at the Villa Marina on Tuesday.

Back to the office for 9.35, which gave me just enough time to send a few e-mails before heading down to the Sea Terminal for the Strategic Sea Services briefing by DOI officers. It was a very informative meeting, which gave the history of the Isle of Man’s sea links over the last 30 years.

Back to Legislative Buildings for 11.35, which gave me an opportunity to catch up with colleagues over a cup of coffee. At 12 noon I continued to prepare all the letters I needed to send out. At 13.00 I drove up to Onchan Primary School, in order to speak to the Year 5 Students. Another fantastic afternoon as I explained the House of Keys Election process and my Onchan colleague Julie Edge, MHK outlined the role and responsibilities of an MHK.

I managed to get back to the office for 14.45, which gave me sufficient time to finally get all the letters drafted and sent out by 16.40. I also took the opportunity to review a course (Introduction to Commonwealth Parliamentary Governance), which I will be undertaking over the next couple of months.

I left the office at 17.00 and after tea I looked over some documents received from the DHSC, along with drafting a suitable response. Finally called it a day at 20.45.

In the office just before 8am on Tuesday and after dropping my bag into the office I headed down to the Villa Marina for the Tourism Industry Day, which started from 8.30am with the actual event getting underway at 9am.

I could only stay for about 40 minutes as I needed to get to Legislative Buildings for 9.25am in order to get ready for the House of Keys sitting and to take full advantage of the delicious pancakes being made by the ladies from the island’s Fairtrade group. Only managed to grab one pancake before collecting my paperwork and heading down to the House of Keys Chamber at 9.45am.

For the first time of this administration, the House of Keys extended the question time period in order to answer all remaining oral questions. Far too many times during the last administration oral questions were transferred onto the next Order Paper or changed to written answers.

The sitting went on until 13.00, at which time all Members headed up to the Barrool Suite for a presentation on the Island’s Financial Services Industry. At 14.10 I got the opportunity to send a couple of e-mails before getting back to the Keys Chamber for 14.30.

The afternoon sitting of the Keys related solely to the final section of the Equality Bill 2016, the sitting finished at 16.15. I managed to send several e-mails before heading home for 17.05.

Wednesday was another extremely busy day running from one place to the other. In the office for 8.15 to collect my speech before heading straight out to the Keyll Darree Suite Noble Hospital, in order to welcome all new staff that have joined DHSC since January 2017.

After delivering my speech I headed back to the office at 9.40 in order to start drafting another 31 letters that will need to be sent tomorrow night. At 11.40am, the DED Motorsport team headed down to the Villa Maria to watch a pre-screening of the new TT movie called “3 Wheeling”, which is about the sidecars, surprisingly.

After the movie we had a discussion with the producers, in order to give some feedback and to ask any questions. I managed to get back to Legislative Buildings for 14.15, but I was only in the office for 10 minutes before heading down to the Sea Terminal with my Onchan colleague Julie Edge, MHK.

Julie had scheduled a meeting with DOI officers, in order to look at a number of road improvements being proposed in and around Onchan. Both Julie and I have highlighted numerous concerns in respect of speed and traffic control since the House of Keys General Election. Hopefully the improvements being proposed will improve safety and reduce the overall speed through Onchan Village.

Back to the office for 15.40 and straight into two DHSC political meetings with the Minister and Senior Government Officials. The second meeting finished at 17.20, at which time I headed home for the evening.

To be perfectly honest, I wasn’t entirely comfortable with either of the meetings, and I certainly believe that the political department members were mis-informed and mis-represented, but at least it has now cleared the air and we can now get down to some serious work on behalf of the department.

Thursday was a relatively easy day, in the office for 8.15am and after grabbing a coffee I continued to draft the 31 letters I needed to send out before close of business. I also printed off and read through my Public Accounts Committee Agenda Pack in advance of the meeting.

Just before 11am I went down to Committee room 1 for the PAC meeting, which finished at 12.20.

After lunch I printed off the DHSC Monthly Agenda Pack and finished off the letters, along with taking the opportunity to catch up on any outstanding e-mails, phone calls, and scheduling some meetings in April and May.

I left the office and 17.20 and after tea I read through my DHSC Agenda Pack for tomorrow’s meeting. Called it a night at 21.00.

Friday was also a straightforward and simple day, in the office for 8.30am and after sending a few emails I headed up to the Old Jane Crookall for the DHSC monthly meeting, which started at 9.30.

It was a big agenda paper and the meeting finished around 13.15. I then headed home to get changed out of my suit and on the way back the office I called in to see a Constituent to help to resolve a neighbour dispute.

Back in the office for 14.45 and the rest of the afternoon was taken up answering e-mails and reading through the first two modules of my new course: An Introduction to Commonwealth Parliamentary Governance.

Saturday will be taken up with preparing for Monday’s Public Accounts Committee Oral Evidence Session with the Treasury Minister, which will be available online.