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Sacked politicians defend actions

The two politicians sacked from the Department of Education have defended the actions which led to their dismissal.

MHKs John Houghton and Zac Hall lost their posts after failing to back the department’s plans for pre-school privatisation.

They excused themselves from a key Tynwald vote on nursery reforms, breaching both parliamentary and departmental guidelines in the process.

However, both insist their desire to represent the public’s interest took precedence over their departmental roles.

Mr Houghton and Mr Hall say they have learned a lesson and, in hindsight, should have taken part in the debate and voted against the department – even though they acknowledge that wouldn’t have made a difference to the outcome or their own positions in government.

They go onto say they believe Minister Peter Karran has been badly advised over the cuts and are horrified he progressed the privatisation plans without the support of any of the departmental members.

They also claim Mr Karran appeared to show a lack of understanding and the real value of teacher led nursery opportunities, something they describe as a short-sighted, regressive step that will be hard to reverse in the future.

However, departmental officers also come under fire, both men saying the department failed to discuss or consult with teachers and head teachers before announcing the measures.

Mr Houghton and Mr Hall, who has also been ‘suspended’ from the Liberal Vannin party whose leader is Mr Karran, conclude by saying they had approached the Chief and Education Minister as recently as last Tuesday morning offering to meet teachers, parents and pupils to find another solution, only for the proposal to be rejected.

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