Blog 30 Oct 17A fairly light schedule this week, but things will certainly start to pick up again as we head towards the Christmas period.

Personally, I have always worked better with a full schedule or under slight pressure as it helps focus the mind, but I will certainly take an easy week for a change……

Unfortunately, the Panorama allegations are still flying around this week (no pun intended) and there were even questions raised in Westminster during Prime Minister’s Question Time on Wednesday afternoon in respect of the island’s aircraft registry. Two special programmes on offshore centres will be aired on Sunday and Monday, which will put the Isle of Man and its finance centre under extreme pressure.

Anyway, back to this week – in the office early on Monday morning as there was a Public Accounts Committee meeting at 9am. Once the meeting finished I caught up with a couple of phone calls, along with drafting and sending out five or six letters.

I then walked over to the Coffee Exchange in Athol Street to meet a local business owner who wanted to discuss TT fortnight and the paddock layout for 2018. I certainly support one idea tabled and I will be taking this back to the Department for further consideration.

Monday afternoon was spent working on several ongoing projects, along with reading through a mountain of reports and paperwork. I also drafted several questions for the House of Keys sitting on 7th November.

I left the office at 17.15.

The early part of Tuesday morning was spent trying to sort out several more questions for answer in the House of Keys.

Just before 10am I headed down to the House of Keys Chamber, for a short sitting that lasted around an hour. Only ten questions for Oral answer, which focused on the Living Wage……..

I was also more than happy to support Martyn Perkins, MHK who is looking to bring forward a Private Member’s Bill in respect of Organ Donations, and I look forward to seeing the draft Bill in due course.

Once the sitting finished I headed straight into Onchan to meet up with several Constituents to discuss various topics including Manx Gas, Mobility Scooters, Overgrown Hedges and footpaths.

I also took the opportunity to head home to grab a coffee and to read through the Public Accounts agenda pack before returning to the office late in the afternoon to catch up with e-mails and to make some calls before leaving the office at 17.10.

Another early start on Wednesday, the first task was to finish reading through my Public Accounts Committee agenda pack. Just before 9am I drove to Lorne House in Castletown to meet up with the current property owner, along with several other people including my colleague Jason Moorhouse, MHK.

It is a wonderful building with a colourful past dating back to the early 1800s and I did enjoy the tour around the property.

The building has had several extensions added over the years, but the main building has also been used as a family home recently, an office for a local trust company, and a former home of the island’s Lt Governor.

Back to the office at lunchtime, in order to catch up with e-mails and messages. At 14.00 we had our Public Accounts Committee (PAC) meeting, which lasted around ninety minutes.

Once I was back at my desk I continued to work though e-mails and messages, along with reading through a couple of Consultation papers, including one on the Isle of Man tourism sector.

Left the office at 17.10.

With no meetings or briefings scheduled on Thursday I was able to work from home and to take the opportunity to spend a couple of hours off in the garden, including removing a very large hedge.

Thursday afternoon and part of the evening was spent reading through several large reports, ahead of some Committee Sessions including the 2016/17 Chief Constable’s Annual Report, but it was still an enjoyable day.

Back in the office for 8.20am on Friday morning after dropping off the car for its annual service. Once in the office, I drafted a couple of emergency questions in respect of the press releases given by the Department of Health and Social yesterday, especially around the withdrawal of the Age Concern contract.

I then walked over to DED for a meeting with a representative from the Purple Helmets and the Straightline, in order to consider some additional entertainment options during the TT fortnight.

If we get all our ideas and opptuniies in place for 2018, it will be a fantastic event – fingers crossed……

Back to the office for brief chat with the Tynwald Clerk on the urgent question I am tabling in the House of Keys on Tuesday morning, relating to the ending of the Age Concern contract.

From there I attended a meeting with several other MHKs relating to the root and branch review of the Electoral Legislation, which is currently ongoing and relates to the 2016 House of Keys election. It was a good discussion, but it certainly brought back some memories of Biscuit

Gate and other issues which arose during the election campaign.

At lunchtime I met up with a very good friend for lunch at the Court House, and again it was an excellent business lunch as we discussed the current procurement process within the Isle of Man.

The rest of the afternoon was spent drafting and sending out several more letters on various Constituent matters, along with printing off several large reports, as well as reviewing and considering several pictures for the 2018 Tourism Brochure front cover….

I also had numerous discussions with other MHKs throughout the afternoon.

I left the office at 16.45 to collect the car.

Not a heavy schedule for the weekend, with just a Manx Radio interview on Saturday morning, getting out for a walk at some point, and going to see Chris Packham at the Gaiety on Sunday evening.