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Chief Minister to stand down from House of Keys

Thursday, 28 July 2016

Chief Minister Allan Bell CBE MHK has announced that he will not be seeking re-election to the House of Keys at the general election on September 22 this year.

Mr Bell has been MHK for Ramsey for 32 years, having previously served as a Ramsey Town Commissioner for seven years. His extensive Ministerial experience has included responsibility for Tourism and Leisure, Industry, Home Affairs, Treasury and Economic Development.

He has served as Chief Minister for the last five years and will remain in that position until his successor is appointed this October.

Mr Bell commented: ‘It has been a privilege to serve the people of Ramsey and the Isle of Man, and to have played a part in the Island’s economic and social achievements over the past three decades.

‘But we are entering a new chapter in the Island’s story and it seems the right time to hand over to the next generation of national politicians. Working through the implications of Brexit, in particular, will be a long journey that is best started by Members who are at an earlier stage in their career.’

He added: ‘There is no doubt, however, that the Island is now strongly placed to face the challenges of the future. It is certainly very different from when I first entered the Keys in the first half of the 1980s, a time of high unemployment, poor public resources and very limited social legislation.

‘I have always been a passionate believer in developing the economy because so much else depends upon it – people’s jobs and living standards and the revenues to fund public services. We are now in the fourth decade of continuous economic growth, a remarkable achievement for any country but even more so when it has been maintained through the fiscal and financial constraints of recent years.’

Alongside its economic success, said Mr Bell, the Island had gained an enhanced reputation around the world for its engagement and leadership on international regulatory issues. Its relationships with other governments across the British Isles were more positive and constructive than ever before.

At home, the past 30 years had seen advances in social legislation in such areas as employment and equal rights, while more recently the introduction of Freedom of Information legislation had reinforced the operation of open government.

Over the last five years, said Mr Bell, the Government had faced the unprecedented task of dealing with the aftermath of a substantial loss of VAT revenue. It had made progress in modernising the structures and processes of Government, and in setting the foundations for reformed welfare and health systems.

‘There is more work to be done’, concluded Mr Bell, ‘but I think this Government has established a clear direction of travel and made good progress along the road to a sustainable future for the Isle of Man.’

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