Covid-19 Coronavirus

Chris Thomas MHK dismissed from Council of Ministers

Wednesday, 27 May 2020

The Chief Minister Howard Quayle MHK has today dismissed Chris Thomas MHK from the Council of Ministers.

It follows Mr Thomas’s decision to vote against the Emergency Powers (Coronavirus) (Town and Country Planning Procedures) Regulations 2020 at yesterday’s sitting of Tynwald.

Mr Thomas’s actions are at odds with the principle of collective responsibility, as set out in the Government Code, to which all members of the Council of Ministers are bound.

This follows other actions that have undermined the Council of Ministers decision making process. It includes Mr Thomas not voting as part of the Council of Ministers on the critical question of border closure (Tynwald 31 March).

The Chief Minister said:

'Mr Thomas yesterday took the decision to vote against the Government of which he is a minister. Collective responsibility is a fundamental principle of the Island’s system of government and is especially important during a time of national emergency.

'Collective responsibility requires that ministers should be able to express their views frankly and freely in private, while maintaining a united position when decisions have been reached by the Council of Ministers. Mr Thomas did not adhere to this principle.

'It is with great sadness therefore that I have concluded that I can no longer have full confidence in Mr Thomas as a minister in this government.

'I am a firm believer in diversity of opinion and thought. I always welcomed Mr Thomas’s challenge within the Council of Ministers in a wide range of policy areas. It has enriched debate. Mr Thomas’s attention to fine detail, especially in the development of legislation, has been a real contribution.

'I thank Mr Thomas for his service as Minister for Policy and Reform and his extensive contribution he has made to the work of this administration, most notably on developing our Programme for Government.

'I wish Mr Thomas all the best as he returns to the back benches where I know he will continue to work hard for his constituency and our Island.'

Mr Thomas had served as Minister for Policy and Reform since October 2016.

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