1st March
House of Keys sitting – 16 oral questions. Of interest; question regarding the Referendum in the UK to leave the European Union, reassurance that Government is looking at different scenarios as we are not part of the EU our protocol 3 agreements will fall if the UK leaves. As we are not an Independent Sovereign State we will not be able to negotiate separately with the EU. As well as some risks in leaving there maybe opportunities, think of all the EU regulation that floods over us over which we have no control, so it might not all be bad news.

Our Chief Minister is over the next few days meeting with a number of senior UK politicians who are pro European, including the SNP. I wish he would spend a little more time with those on the other side of the argument before he delivers a brief to Tynwald.

A question mark over Dependability Personal Capability Assessments continues to raise questions with no less than 5 questions concerning the same. Interestingly of 700 assessments, so far only 15 people have had decisions reversed whilst 50% of appeals are allowed and less than 2% contested. Additionally some 75 people have disappeared from the system, in other words are no longer claiming any benefit and there is no record of them entering employment.

A question about emergency access over unadopted roads, relevant in our constituency with many farm access roads, reassurance from Home Affairs that all Emergency Services have access to vehicles that are capable of accessing remote areas.

Bills for first reading, Council of Ministers (Amendment) Bill 2016 – Passed, this is to restrict appointment of the Chief Minister to Keys Elected Members only. Bills for second reading, Local Government and Building Control (Amendment) Bill 2016 – an interesting piece of legislation that will address issues around derelict buildings and land that is not cleared, that is damaging local amenities, introducing new penalties and better defining offences.

Bills for first reading passed, Concessionary Travel Schemes Bill 2015 and Preferential Payments Bill 2016.

Finally Consideration of Clauses, Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill 2016 – all passed excepting Mr Houghton Amendment to allow Registrars and Schools to opt out failed. Mr Singers amendment to include opposite sex couples into Civil Partnerships from which they are excluded at present incorporated.