Rob Callister has said that Health and Social Care Minister Lawrie Hooper ‘misled’ Tynwald.
It comes after May's Tynwald sitting when Mr Hooper told the chamber that the decision to file the skeleton argument relating to the second Dr Rosalind Ranson appeal was taken by DHSC officers using powers properly delegated to officers from the Minister under the Government Departments Act 1987, as Mr Callister, who was then the minister, was absent.
Former Health and Social Care Minister, Mr Callister, said: ‘On Manx Radio’s “Perspective” programme on Sunday, June 18, the Health & Social Care Minister, Lawrie Hooper, MHK made various comments and accusations towards myself personally, and these are in addition to the unhelpful comments he made on social media last week.
‘Happy to clarify why I believe Mr. Hooper, MHK knowingly or unknowingly gave a statement to Tynwald which I believe to be factually incorrect.
‘On May 16 2023, the Health and Social Minister read out a statement in Tynwald Court which I felt was on occasion misleading, especially for the media who would be reporting on the statement and the general public who were listening online, along with my Tynwald colleagues who were in the Chamber at the time.
‘That day Minister Hooper advised Tynwald Court that the decision to file the Skeleton Argument relating to the Dr. Ranson legal case was undertaken by the officers in the Department using powers properly delegated to officers from the Minister under the Government Departments Act 1987, due to the fact that I as the Minister was absent.
‘Under section 4 of the Delegation of Functions document, it states that “In the absence of the Minister, power to exercise any administrative functions which would otherwise fall to be exercised by the Minister but cannot await his return and which have not been delegated to any other member”.
‘However, after looking into the matter further, I confirm that the Delegation of Functions document, which would normally be signed by a new Minister upon their appointment, was only sent to me for signature on November 7 2022.
‘Therefore I believe that neither the interim Chief Executive nor any other DHSC officer from within the department actually had the prescribed powers on 28th September 2022 in accordance with the Government Departments Act 1987.
‘I would also argue that the decision to file the Skeleton Argument relating to Dr. Ranson legal case was not an “administrative function” as outlined under section 4 of the Delegation of Function document, but instead was a very complex and difficult political decision.
‘This argument is strengthened further by the fact that a Council paper was prepared and sent to the Council of Ministers for consideration on September 28 or 29 2022, although the paper was subsequently withdrawn.
‘I also found the Minister’s comment in Tynwald Court that I was “absent” on September 28 2022 to be very concerning, especially when I had various meetings in the office on that particular day, along with taking numerous calls from DHSC officers throughout the day.
‘I had a number of telephone conversations relating to the filing of the Skeleton Argument with both the Chief Minister and the Deputy Chief Minister in the afternoon of September 28 2022 between 3.20pm and 3.50pm, and therefore I feel the Minister’s statement in May’s sitting of Tynwald was not correct.
‘All of this information is already duly recorded in my evidence that I provided to the Tynwald Standards and Members’ Interests Committee back in November / December 2022.
‘I have also written to the chairman of the Tynwald Standards and Members’ Interest Committee on May 24, along with the president of Tynwald, in order to outline my concerns in respect of the Health and Social Care Minister’s statement in Tynwald on 16th May 2023, and I welcome their review of the evidence in due course.’
Lawrie Hooper told Manx Radio: ‘Tynwald has already found that Mr Callister acted dishonestly, I think the language in the report is that he did not act consistently with the principle of honesty , in essence to say that he was dishonest.
‘He is continuing to repeat some of those allegations even after Tynwald has found that, that is a matter for him, it is not something that I particularly want to wade into.’