Two former MHKs have labelled actions by the Treasury as ‘pure ageism’ in an employment and equality tribunal held this week.

The tribunal, chaired by Douglas Stewart, is dealing with the issue of resettlement payments not being paid to Martyn Perkins and Geoffrey Boot following their failed re-election campaigns in 2021.

Mr Boot brought forth this claim to the tribunal, whilst Mr Perkins was there to provide evidence.

The resettlement grant is a payment received by MHKs who do not get re-elected to the House of Keys to support them while they re-integrate into the workforce.

They were both over 60 when they were voted out of office and the cut-off for MHKs to receive this payment is 60 years old.

Mr Perkins and Mr Boot argued that their employability has been affected by their time in office and needed the money to assist them in finding work post-parliament.

Former Environment Minister Mr Boot told the panel he was a ‘practising commercial pilot and examiner’ before he was elected into the House of Keys.

He said: ‘My skillset and employability have suffered – six years out of aviation is a long time.’

Mr Perkins told the panel that it was ‘impossible’ to be re-employed.

He added: ‘I feel disadvantaged and discrimination by all.’

The advocate for Mr Boot was Stephen Coren, while Anna Heeley represented the treasury.

Mr Coren said: ‘This case is about defending the right to discriminate against two men in their 60s.

‘Does this drive a coach and horses through the Equality Act?’

The resettlement payment given to MHKs following a failed re-election campaign is equal to six months of a member’s salary.

The two former MHKs were instead only offered the Tynwald members pension as they were of a ‘pensionable age’.

Mr Boot was offered the amount of £318 per month whilst Mr Perkins was offered £328 per month.

Miss Heeley said that ‘the scheme is not open to interpretation’, and that a statutory defence allows the treasury to discriminate as long as it is required by an enactment.

The panel heard that the statutory defence, which was one of Miss Heeley’s main arguments in this case, was previously raised by the Attorney General’s Chambers as an ‘after the event, collateral jurisdictional challenge.’

In regards to his inquiries to the government about his resettlement and their response, Mr Perkins said: ‘They could see the rhinos galloping down the corridor and knew what was coming next.’

Mr Coren said that this defence was mentioned ‘too late and it shouldn’t find favour.’

The panel heard that the issue of the resettlement grant of MHKs was being put to Tynwald this week. On Wednesday, after the hearing had concluded, Tynwald backed a change in the rules to remove the reference to pensionable age.

Mr Boot said: ‘There is only one reason I am here today, because I was over 60. If I was one day younger, I wouldn’t be here.’

The panel heard from Mr Coren that between January 2020 and the general election in 2021, there were ‘five or six’ opportunities to amend the legislation, they were all declined.

Mr Coren highlighted a complete lack of evidence brought forward by the treasury to support its case.

Miss Heeley also argued that the Mr Perkins and Mr Boot were not formally ‘employed’ but elected as MHKs.

She argued that under the equality act of 2017, the sections referred in the complainants’ case are not valid as there is no employment contract, written or otherwise, between the government and the two former MHKs.

The tribunal will publish its findings in due course.