Gawne claims dirty tricks smear

Phil Gawne MHK. Below, Alex Downie MLC

Phil Gawne MHK. Below, Alex Downie MLC

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An MHK says he wants to lift the lid on political dirty tricks in Tynwald after claiming he has been ‘threatened’ by an MLC.

But one MLC has hit back urging Agriculture Minister to name names – and put up or shut up.

Alex Downie MLC

Alex Downie MLC

Mr Gawne admits he has no proof that an MLC, whom he refuses to name, has been behind a dirty tricks campaign, which he is linking to his recent - unsuccessful - motion to abolish the Legislation Council.

He said his aim was to ‘expose the dirty, nasty, underhand and creepy business some members engage in’.

‘It’s not about being intimidated - I’m not intimidated. I just want to expose that this kind of thing happens in Tynwald.’

Mr Gawne claimed that two weeks ago one MLC told him in the Tynwald members’ room that if he was going to push forward with his private members’ Bill to abolish LegCo then he was going to ‘fight fire with fire’ and ‘throw a lot of c*** in my direction’. There was a threat.’

He said over the course of the following week his department had had to deal with a ‘lot of issues’ including an anonymous letter. ‘It led me to think this was being directed by someone – I could be wrong,’ he said.

He said the anonymous letter about the Countryside Care Scheme had been sent to all Tynwald members and contained ‘wild, dangerous, misleading and inaccurate’ statements.

Alex Downie MLC confirmed he had sent a copy of the anonymous letter to Mr Gawne’s department which he said had been written by a disgruntled farmer. Mr Downie said he had included a covering letter giving his name.

He told the Examiner: ‘He should name and shame - put up or shut up.

‘He’s making allegations about a member and he’s tarring everybody in LegCo with the same brush. This isn’t the way we work in here.

‘I can categorically say to you that I have never ever sent an anonymous letter to anybody. If he has time on his hands to get rid of LegCo he should have time to get on with the things he should be doing in his department.’.

He said that if Mr Gawne had concerns he should take his complaint to the members’ standards committee.

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