Blog 2 Apr 17Monday started with a 50 minute walk to work…….

Due to my own silly mistake on Sunday lunchtime our car was in the garage, which also meant we had to leave the house at 7.30am on Monday morning. We got to the office for 8.15am and without a car I needed to cancel several meetings on Monday morning, but these were rescheduled as telephone conferences instead.

At 9am I had a telephone meeting with the Headteacher at Onchan Primary School with regards to the new intakes from September 2017. Thereafter, I got my head down to draft forty letters that I needed to send out before jumping on a plane tomorrow night.

At 11.30am I had a DED briefing on a TT issue that will need serious consideration before 2018. At 12 noon I had my second telephone meeting with the Headteacher of Ashley Hill School, again to discuss the intake of new students from September.

At 12.45 I headed over to the Government Building, in order to continue interviewing potential candidates to be appointed Trustees on the Manx National Heritage Trust.

The first interview started at 13.15 and the last one finished at around 15.15 and after reviewing our notes I was back at my desk for 15.45. Just enough time to finish drafting the letters before Ellen and I went to collect the car at 16.30.

On Monday evening I attended the Positive Action Group meeting, which was on the Eastern Area Plan. I got home for 21.30 and after sending a few e-mails I called it a day at 22.20.

Great to have the car back, in the office for 8.20am and after grabbing a coffee I started drafting a further 10 letters, which I needed to send before jumping on the plane that night.

At 9.30am I started to get paperwork together before heading down to the Keys Chamber for today’s sitting, which started at 10am. Again, a relatively short question time with only 15 questions, but there were certainly some good questions being asked.

Tuesday’s sitting finished at 11.40am, which gave MHKs an opportunity to catch up over a coffee. At 12 noon I answered several e-mails and calls before going up to the Barrool Suite for a presentation by the Isle of Man Post Office, which was very interesting as the senior management within the organisation sets its future vision and direction.

The presentation finished at 14.15 and the rest of the afternoon was spent catching up with e-mails, along with drafting a formal complaint on behalf of a constituent.

I left the office at 17.00 in order to grab some tea and to pack a case before heading to the airport for 20.00, at which point I met up several other MHKs as we headed off to Westminster for a full three day programme of events, which would include attending Prime Minister’s Question Time.

The flight left the IOM at 21.15 and landed at Gatwick at 22.20, but unfortunately we couldn’t locate our mini bus so we managed to catch a train into London just after midnight.

Finally got to the hotel at 00.55am and to bed for 1.30am – talk about planes, trains and automobiles…….!

An early start on Wednesday, downstairs for breakfast at 8am and to meet up with my Tynwald colleagues before walking over to the House of Commons to meet our fellow Commonwealth Parliament Association members for 9.45am.

The first item on today’s agenda was a tour of the House of Commons and the House of Lords, which was fantastic.

What we did find very strange was the fact that none of our bags were searched as we went into the parliament. This was because of our political positions, which was unexpected given the events of last week.

At 11.45am we headed back over to the Commons for Prime Minister’s Question Time. We had excellent seats in the public gallery and we stayed on to listen to the historic statement being made by the Prime Minister, Theresa May on the UK exiting the European Union.

Good or bad, it was a real privilege to be actually in the House of Commons today as this statement was being read out by the Prime Minister. At 13.00 we had lunch with a number of MPs and Lords before attending two key briefings on the UK Parliament and a welcome introduction from 14.00.

At 15.40 we were given an opportunity to sit in on an Environment, Food and Rural Evidence Select Committee, which was on Broadband and how to get those 5% of properties in the UK not connected to broadband connected.

We left the House of Commons at 16.35 to get to the hotel for 17.00 after a very exciting day. I think the funniest part of today was after tea we headed out for a bottle of water at 22.50 with Clare Bettison, MHK and David Ashford, MHK – a simple task that turned into David giving us a full three mile tour of central London, very funny. I managed to get to bed for just after midnight.

Up and about for 7.30am on Thursday and after breakfast we headed over to Portcullis House, which is the entrance to the House of Commons for 8.15am. The day started with a tour of the Parliament Education Training Centre, which has around 90,000 children visiting the centre each year.

After a coffee break we had a meeting with Sir Alan Haselhurst MP in order to look over daily procedure in the House of Commons and this was followed by a briefing on creating UK Legislation. We also got a second opportunity to watch the Business Minister take a series of questions in the House of Commons.

Lunch was served at 12.45 and in the afternoon we attended a further series of briefings on Financial Scrutiny, Public Accounts Committee and Empowering Parliamentarians in Scrutiny and Oversight.

Our final meeting / briefing of the day was with Mr. Akbar Khan, Secretary General of the CPA HQ. We got back to the hotel for 18.20, which left less than an hour to get ready. The team met for 19.20 and went out to Pizza Express. After dinner David Ashford, MHK shown off his tourist guide skills once more by taking us to Buckingham Palace. The weather in London City over the last few days has been fantastic.

Got back to the hotel for 22.50, which was the earliest night so far.

Another early start on Friday, up and about for 7.15am and after grabbing something to eat we were met with the mini bus for 8am. Today we headed off to Romford to spend the morning with Andrew Rosindell, MP, which turned into a fascinating visit and it also gave us an insight into the workload of a very busy and well respected local MP.

We also had a meeting with the Mayor of Havering, along with taking in the usual tea and sandwiches. Back to the hotel for 2pm to collect our bags and catch our breath before jumping into a further minibus to take us back to Gatwick Airport at 15.00.

The mini bus ride was extremely long, over two hours and arrived at Gatwick just after 5pm. Our flight back to the Isle of Man left at 19.15 and we finally got home for 21.00.

Nothing scheduled for the weekend, other then to draft several long and complicated e-mails and to prepare for a number of visits scheduled for next week.