Gawne issues apology to all MLCs

Phil Gawne

Phil Gawne

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Agriculture Minister Phil Gawne has written to MLCs to offer an unreserved apology over his allegations of bullying by a member of the upper house.

Rushen MHK Mr Gawne claimed he had been threatened by an MLC who he alleged may have been behind a dirty tricks campaign.

This, he claimed, included sending anonymous letters to his department and was linked to his recent, unsuccessful, call to abolish the upper house. He refused to named the politician involved and admitted he had no proof there was any orchestrated smear campaign.

But when he was invited to refer the matter to Tynwald’s standards and members’ interests committee, Mr Gawne withdraw his comments saying there was no basis to refer a complaint for investigation.

This did not satisfy one MLC Alex Downie who said the Minister should issue a formal apology to all MLCs.

Now Mr Gawne has done just that. In a letter to all members of the Legislative Council, he wrote: ‘I write further to my recent outspoken remarks (now publicly withdrawn) to offer my unreserved apology to you for any offence or discomfort my remarks have caused you.

‘I hope you will appreciate that I had no intentions to cause you any offence either collectively or individually and I deeply regret any upset, discomfort or offence caused. I would be very pleased to meet with any of you who wish so that I can understanding any remaining concerns you might have and indeed apologise in person should you wish.’

Mr Downie had previously confirmed he had sent to Mr Gawne’s department a copy of a letter from an anonymous farmer which criticised aspects of the Countryside Care Scheme. He said then Mr Gawne ‘should name and shame – put up or shut up’.

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