Isle of Man Newspapers
In Tynwald today, the Chief Minister whinged that questions regarding Mrs Crowe still being the Chairman of the Post office were unfair as she was not present to answer. (Or words to that effect)
Actually Tony, going by past form, I think Mrs Crowe would prefer not to be present to answer awkward questions.
When the Public Gallery and Manx Radio airwaves were buzzing with Post Office employees to hear her answer questions regarding the Post Office, it were none other than Mrs Crowe that put the kibosh on an extended Tynwald Question time (against the desires of the elected House of Keys) so that she could get out of a bit of a pickle.
From Hansard Tynwald 20h November 2007: page 231
Isle of Man Post Office workers
Restoring trust in Board
7. The Hon. Member for Douglas East (Mrs Cannell) to ask the Chief Minister:
(1) Are you aware of the deep unrest and mistrust of the Isle of Man Post Office workers in the Chairman and Board due to a lack of meaningful consultation between the Board and the Post Office Worker’s Union; and if so
(2) what do you propose to do to restore confidence and trust?
Question 7. became quite eventful particularly when President of Tynwald Noel Cringle decided to move to the next question despite a number of members wanting to ask supplementary questions.
There was another Post Office related question tabled later, but because the Legislative Council over ruled the desires of the House of Keys to extend oral question time, the answer was put in writing thus preventing any supplementary questions in Tynwald. I would respectfully suggest that had Mrs Crowe voted to extend question time in line with the wishes of the House of Keys, and show that she was indeed a stronger woman, then she would be sitting on her cushions in David Callister's seat today.
The question and its (written) answer:
ISLE OF MAN POST OFFICE
Isle of Man Post Office Workers’ Pension Scheme
Consultation on closure to new entrants
26. The Hon. Member for Douglas East (Mrs Cannell) to ask the Chairman of Isle of Man Post Office:
Who did you consult with prior to taking the decision to close the Isle of Man Post Office Workers’ Pension Scheme to new entrants?
Answer: I can confirm that the Board of the Isle of Man Post Office consulted extensively with the professional pension and actuarial advisors to the Post Office prior to notifying the Trustees of the Isle of Man Post Office Superannuation Scheme in June 2006 of the proposal to close the present scheme to new entrants from April 2007.
Leading Oral Questions are used in Tynwald to allow further supplementary questions, in order that members can perhaps get to the core issue. In this case we shall never know what members wanted but certainly going by the passions displayed in the earlier question and the mood in the Public Gallery, there was a lot of displeasure about.
For those interested, the voting to extend Question Time (2/3 majority needed) was as follows:
In the Keys – Ayes 17, Noes 5
The Speaker: Mr President, the motion carries in the House of Keys: 17 votes for, 5 votes against.
In the Council – Ayes 5, Noes 3
The President: In the Council, Hon. Members, there are 5 votes for and 3 against. Therefore, Hon. Members, requiring 6 in the Council, the motion fails to carry, Hon. Members.
This despite the motion be proposed by the Speaker of the House of Keys and a plea from David Cannan
Mr Cannan: I confirm that I believe that it will be strongly in the public interest that these remaining Questions are answered, sir.
All this may be uninteresting for some, but if you are a Post Office worker, you will appreciate that it mattered. A lot.