Isle of Man News - POSTED Fri 15-07-2011

Tynwald concludes with a bust-up as John Houghton is condemned for abuse of privilege

by Bill Dale

Tynwald concludes with a bust-up as John Houghton is condemned for abuse of privilege


TYNWALD’S marathon three-day final session finally ended yesterday in the late afternoon but it didn’t conclude without some serious angry disagreements between politicians.


The man who came in for more attacks than any was North Douglas MHK John Houghton who is also chairman of the Civil Service Commission.


Mr Houghton was accused a number of times of abusing his Tynwald privileges and for making verbal attacks on civil service officers during the final hours of yesterday afternoon’s Tynwald debates.


Rushen MHK Quintin Gill described Mr Houghton’s actions as "disgraceful" and the Chief Minister Tony Brown launched an angry attack on the MHK for his tirade of accusations and unsubstantiated claims.


Mr Brown said, "I have had enough of listening to the chairman of the Civil Service Commission [Mr Houghton] and his wild and totally unfounded accusations about officers who are not able to defend themselves."


However, the comment which most politicians will remember, after a decidedly unhappy end to the final sitting of Tynwald before the General Election, came from probably the most respected of all of today’s Manx politicians, Eddie Lowey MLC.


"I find the actions and comments of the chairman of the Civil Service Commission to be offensive, and totally out of order. To say such things under the protection of this Court without any proof whatsoever is simply appalling.


"It is a total abuse of the privilege of Tynwald Court."


Mr Houghton, who has always been outspoken during his two terms as an MHK for North Douglas, has frequently been rebuked by the President of Tynwald and the Speaker of the House of Keys for making unsavoury and unsubstantiated comments about other members or government officers.


With the criticism of his comments coming right at the end of the Tynwald sitting, Mr Houghton did not have the opportunity to respond, and probably decided it was best not to, having been put in his place by one of the Island’s most senior politicians.



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