Blog 5 Feb 17Having now been in the role for around five months, the concept of working Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm and obtaining four weeks’ annual holiday leave each year has all gone. What remains is the role of being an MHK on the Isle of Man and being a National Politician.

There are no terms of employment but you are expected to make yourself available to Constituents, Tynwald and Departments at all times. Sounds like madness but it is a fantastic role and I certainly don’t regret the opportunity I’ve been given – thank you.

In the office for 8.25 on Monday, the first task was to respond to several e-mails along with drafting a couple of thank you letters.

Just before 9am I headed down to Ramsey for a meeting with Lawrie Hooper, MHK and Steven Bevan, Deputy Clerk of Ramsey Town Commissioners. The meeting was scheduled to look at tourism, TT and retail opportunities for the town, along with ensuring that business in the North are not overlooked by the Cruise and Coach passengers coming to the Isle of Man.

At 11.10am I headed back to Douglas to give two small interviews relating to the Villa & Gaiety with Manx Radio before getting back to Legislative Buildings for 12.15.

Just enough time to take my coat off before heading upstairs for a presentation and Q & A session on Moneyval, which was very interesting. At 14.00 there was a second briefing on the Equality Bill, which finished at 14.45.

The rest of the afternoon was taken up helping out a guest house with some technical issues surrounding the Government’s new website, along with making several calls.

I left the office at 17.15

Tuesday was a relatively straightforward day, I started the day at 8.15 by sending out several e-mails, correspondence etc. I went through my notes for today’s sitting of the House of Keys before heading down to the Chambers for 9.45. Only a handful of oral questions this week, which meant that question time only lasted around 45 minutes. The main topic on the agenda for the House of Keys today was the Equality Bill, which is being broken down into smaller sections.

Today we went through the first 28 clauses with several amendments. The Keys finished at 12 noon, which gave MHK’s an opportunity to catch up with colleagues over a coffee. At 13.00 we headed upstairs for a presentation given by the Isle of Man Alzheimer’s Society, which was very informative and well presented. I will certainly be following up this excellent initiative with Government Departments.

Just before 15.00, I headed home to get changed before heading to the office at 16.00 to start drafting my notes for the General Election Committee sitting on 15th February.

I headed back home at 17.30.

Wednesday was all about the Budget, the day started with a chat with the Chief Minister, which is always an excellent opportunity to ask those difficult questions in a one to one environment. At 9.40 Tim Crookall, MLC, Laurence Skelly, MHK and I headed down to the promenade for a meeting with the Manx Motor Cycle Club. It is always good to listen to the views and thoughts of the club that puts in hundreds of hours of work each year – all free of charge.

The meeting finished at 11.40, which gave us just enough time to get back for the 12 noon Budget briefing given by the Treasury Minister and his team. After the briefing there was the usual Q & A session.

The meeting finished around 14.50 and once back at by desk, I helped a local business with some the serious Tax & NI concerns, a Constituent with Social Care and Custody issues, along with holding a telephone conference regarding the findings of an Independent Hotel Futures Study.

Thereafter, I spent the rest of the afternoon going through my budget pack and scheduling several meetings over the next two weeks.

Not sure how best to describe Thursday – was it work or leisure?

I was meant to use Thursday to start drafting my Budget Speech, but it just didn’t happen. I was in the office for 8.20 and it started with me responding to several e-mails and messages.

Tim Crookall, MLC called into my office for a general chat on several items. At 10.30am I met up with a candidate from the 2016 House of Keys General Election for coffee, which included a tour of the offices and the Chambers.

At 12 noon I drove down to Castletown to meet up with a Constituent for a general chat on the island’s finance sector.

At 13.45 I headed to back to Onchan to meet up with several Constituents to provide an update on something I am trying to resolve, which is becoming extremely difficult.

Back to the office at 15.15 to start going through my DHSC monthly agenda pack.

Got home for 17.30, after tea I continued to go through my DHSC Agenda pack for tomorrow’s meeting, called it a day at 21.45.

I was in the office just before 8.30am on Friday. After sending a few e-mails I headed up to the Old Jane Crookall for the DHSC monthly meeting. The meeting started at 9.30am and finished just after 14.00, a very long meeting with a lot of very difficult political decisions made.

I headed back to the office for 14.30 and I spent the rest of the day catching up and continuing to work on Budget notes before drafting my initial speech on Saturday and Sunday.

Very busy week coming up next week…