Blog 12 Feb 17It is fair to say that this week has been one of the most stressful and busiest weeks I have encountered, especially since the General Election.

I was in the office for 8.15 on Monday trying to sort out an article that appeared online over the weekend with regards to the British Road Championships being held on the Isle of Man in June.

It is incredibly difficult to explain this role of being an MHK who is trying on the one hand to defend a government decision that provides an overall benefit for the whole island or to defend themselves when criticised, but on the other hand trying not to upset one or more local markets.

Getting the balance right as to when to defend things and when to let things go certainly takes judgement and time.

At 8.45, Lawrie Hooper, MHK, Martyn Perkins, MHK and I attended a day of intensive media training, which was fantastic. The course was really helpful, full of hints and tips when conducting media interviews and when using social media. We used the opportunity also to discuss a live case, as one local radio station had posted an article which was totally incorrect.

Back to the office for 16.50, which give me very little time to respond to a mountain of emails and messages received during the course of the day. I left the office at 17.20, but only had time to get a quick shower before heading to Onchan Commissioners for 18.30.

During the meeting with the Commissioners, various items were discussed including housing, transfer of services and businesses within the Constituency.

The meeting ended around 19.15 and after collecting Ellen, we headed straight out to a formal gathering being held in the north of the island, in honour of the Secretary-General of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association, Mr Akbar Khan, along with the third delegation of politicians from the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly who were visiting the Isle of Man Branch of the CPA and Tynwald.

The weather was horrible, heavy rain, fog and pools of water everywhere. We still managed to get home 22.30, which gave me time to send a few messages before calling it a day at 23.15.

Wide awake at 5am on Tuesday, so I took the opportunity to read the IOM Examiner before starting work at 5.30. The first task was to help out a Constituent who was in urgent need of help, but I was unable to assist the previous day. A few messages sent through Facebook sorted the matter before 7.15 – a big thank you to Nick at Northern Fuels for helping me out.

In the office for 8.10, which gave me time to send a couple of e-mails before my first meeting at 8.30. Dr. Alex Allinson, MHK and I had a meeting with a local advocate who wanted to raise some serious concerns, which will take some time to sort out.

The meeting finished at 9.30, which gave us a little time to get ready for Tuesday’s sitting of the House of Keys. There was only a handful of oral questions in the House of Keys again this week, which meant that question time only lasted around 45 minutes. However, the main topic on the agenda for the House of Keys today was the Equality Bill once again, which is being broken down into smaller sections.

Today we went through the next 70 clauses with numerous amendments. The Keys finished at 13.15, but no time to rest as we headed straight upstairs for a presentation on the Bribery Act 2013. The briefing finished at 14.30, which finally gave me an opportunity to finally catch up with e-mails, along with printing off my DED Agenda pack for tomorrow. I also spent around 90 minutes on the phone trying to catch up or trying resolve various issues.

I left the office at 17.20 and after tea I started to draft this week’s Blog before working though my DED Agenda pack. Finally called it a day at 22.10.

Another busy day on Wednesday, in the office by 8.15 – just enough time to park the car before heading down to the Colonnade Suite at the Villa Maria for a DED away day at 8.30.

Before reviewing the overall strategy for the department over the next five years, we started with our monthly department meeting. I left the away day slightly early at 13.45 in order to make my away up to the Old Jane Crookall to review and sign several Department documents in the absence of the Minister.

I got back to Legislative Buildings for 14.20 and headed down to the House of Keys Chamber to greet some Year 6 Onchan Primary School Children. The quality of the speeches were fantastic and I also had some excellent questions to answer.

At 14.55 I had to leave in order to head to DED for a Minimum Wage discussion, which was extremely difficult but at the same time truly fascinating just listening to the pros and cons of such an important topic.

The meeting finished at 16.10 when Lawrie Hooper, MHK, Daphne Caine, MHK and I headed to the nearest coffee house for a coffee and chat.

Back to the office for 16.40, which gave me time to send a few emails and to print off a Agenda Pack for tomorrow, before heading off at 17.25.

After tea I went though the Clinical Recommendation Committee Agenda Pack before calling it a day at 20.15.

In the office for 8.15 on Thursday, quickly made a coffee before Tim Crookall, MLC and Clare Bettison, MHK called in for a chat. At 8.50, I offered to support Martyn Perkins, MHK at a Constituent meeting held at Majestic Drive regarding dog mess.

I won’t print what actually happened to poor Martyn during the Constituent meeting, other than to say that I haven’t laughed so much for a long time! Back to the office for 9.30, which gave a few minutes to send a couple of emails.

At 9.55 I headed over to DED for the Tourism Political monthly meeting, which included an industry update and review of several financial proposals. Back to the Legislative Buildings for 11.00, which gave me time to draft a few questions for the February Sitting of Tynwald.

At 11.45 I made my way to the Jane Crookall for the Clinical Recommendation Committee, which I currently chair. The meeting finished for 14.35 and headed back to Legislative Buildings for a meeting with the Isle of Man TT Marshals Association, which started at 15.00.

An extremely difficult meeting, but it is important that the TT Marshals receive the right level of support across all Government Departments. A follow-up meeting is to be scheduled for March. The meeting finished at 16.30 so I just had enough time to jump into the car to go and support a Constituent who was attending an interview with the IOM Police at 16.45.

Arrived home for 17.20, after a quick tea and change of clothing I headed down to St John’s for the Public Meeting to discuss the future options for the operation of the IOM Meat Plant. I was attending the meeting in a formal compacity as the Chairman of the Environment and Infrastructure Policy Review Committee.

Finally got home 22.35 and after sending a couple of emails and messages, I called it a day at 23.15

Woke up on Friday to another incorrect article by a different local radio station, saying I had declined to comment. This wasn’t true – I simply couldn’t find the time during the working day this week.

In the office for 8.30, the first task was to print off the Agenda Pack for the Environment and Infrastructure Policy Committee that started at 10.00. Unfortunately, I hadn’t found the time to review the pack the night before, but fortunately I had the time in the morning. It was a very interesting Committee meeting, in preparation for taking oral evidence from the Department of Infrastructure in the near future.

The meeting finished for 11.45 and I headed to DED to collect an invitation along with reviewing and approving two big TT announcements, which will go public shortly.

At 12.30 I headed to Bar George for lunch with my old boss.

At 13.45 I walked over to the AG’s Chambers for a meeting in respect of an appeal decision that I am having to rule on. At 14.45 I was back at DED for a monthly briefing on the Construction Industry.

Finally got back the office for 15.30, which gave me time to send a few emails before heading home at 17.20.

On Saturday I will be attending a Rugby Match sponsored by Wi-Manx and Sunday will be taken up drafting my notes for a Committee hearing being held on Wednesday next week.