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Chief Minister of Isle of Man to step down in October

Chief Minister Allan Bell has served as the leader of the Isle of Man for five years Credit: ITV

The Chief Minister of the Isle of Man Allan Bell has announced that he will not be seeking re-election at the general election in September.

Mr Bell has been Member of the House of Keys for Ramsey for 32 years, previously serving as a 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.

It will be the first election where the boundaries have changed, meaning each area will be represented by two MHKs.

The island's general election will be on September 22.

‘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.’

– Chief Minister Allan Bell CBE MHK

An historic ruling for same sex marriage on the Isle of Man

Same sex marriages can be performed on the Isle of Man from today.

The new law was given royal assent by the Queen on Wednesday and comes 24 years after homosexuality was decriminalised on the island.

Despite there still being some opposition, the law is actually more progressive than that in the UK, with a single civil marriage provision that applies to everyone.

Helen McKenna reports.


Same-sex couples can now marry in the Isle of Man

Same-sex couples can wed in the Isle of Man from today Credit: PA

Same-sex couples can get married in the Isle of Man from today.

It has also become the first place in the British Isles to allow opposite-sex couples to enter into civil partnerships, as an alternative to marriage.

Chief Minister Allan Bell has described it as a "historic moment" for the island.

Isle of Man Government cannot justify funding for new Duchenne treatment

Kirstie Hesketh with 7-year-old Finley, who is the only boy eligible for Translarna on the IoM Credit: Helen McKenna, ITV

A new drug treatment to help Duchenne muscular dystrophy sufferers walk for longer will not be funded on the Isle of Man.

The decision was made by the Department of Health and Social Care, who said this is based on advice from the IoM Clinical Recommendations Committee - because of the limited licence which the treatment has, more evidence to show that the drug is effective in slowing down the loss of walking ability would need to be submitted by the manufacturer.

Funding Translarna would cost the IoM Government an estimated £200,000 - £250,000 per year, which the DHSC said could not be justified.

When questioned by a local MHK, Kate Beecroft, regarding 7-year-old Finley Hesketh 's case, the Department's minister, Howard Quayle, replied that the drug will not be locally funded due to no evidence of effectiveness.

The National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (NICE) publishes guidance for the NHS in England and Wales. NICE has issued a draft recommendation that Translarna should be available on the NHS in England and Wales for patients with nonsense mutation Duchenne as part of what is, in effect, an extended study designed to provide data on clinical outcomes.

NICE is proposing that this NHS funded study (which they call a managed access scheme) should run for five years, after which the outcomes and funding will be reviewed.

The island's Committee concluded funding for a clinical study could not be a priority over other calls for resources.

The Hesketh's have been campaigning for their son, Finley, to receive Translarna treatment Credit: Helen McKenna, ITV

The Department has a limited budget with which to fund all health and social care for the people of the Isle of Man. It is not possible to fund everything that may be requested which means that difficult decisions on emotive issues have to be taken.

– Health and Social Care Minister, Howard Quayle

IoM Horse Tram funding approved for 2 years

Douglas Bay Horse Trams began in August 1876 Credit: ITV

The Isle of Man Government has decided to fund the continuation of horse trams for another two years.

From next year until 2018, the trams will be funded by the government, after a decision was made by Douglas Borough Council to end the service. The Department of Infrastructure, with support from Culture Vannin and Manx National Heritage, have been funding the horse trams this year following the Council's decision.

Figures for future plans will be looked into for a new route as well as facilities for the Douglas horse trams.

The trams, which turn 140 years old in August, have long been disputed due to funding the 1.6 mile tramway along Douglas Promenade.

Mark Cavendish pulls out of Tour de France

The Isle of Man sprinter has decided to leave the Tour early ahead its conclusion in Paris on Sunday. Credit: Ian Parker/PA Wire/Press Association Images

British cyclist Mark Cavendish, who is known as the Manx Missile, has pulled out of the remaining five stages of the Tour de France in order to concentrate on the Olympic games, his team Dimension Data has announced.

The Isle of Man sprinter, 31, won four stages, including the first at Utah Beach, to take the yellow jersey for the first time in his career. His overall tally is now 30, second only to Eddy Merckx.

Cavendish has opted to leave the Tour early, ahead of Sunday's conclusion in Paris, to focus on his dream of achieving gold at the Rio Olympics next month.

He said he took the decision "with great sadness" and added: "I'm at a point that would have a detrimental effect on my other big goal for the year, the Olympic Games."


‘Historic moment’ for Isle of Man as same sex marriage becomes law

The island's Tower of Refuge lit in the colours of the rainbow flag during a recent tribute. Credit: manxrainbow

A new law allowing same sex marriage in the Isle of Man will come into effect on Friday, the Tynwald Government has confirmed.

Final implementation of the Marriage and Civil Partnership Amendment Act was welcomed by Chief Minister Allan Bell CBE MHK, who described the move as an ‘historic moment’ for the Island.

"Recognition of marriage for same sex couples in Manx law is a truly historic moment, showing just how far the Island has travelled over the past 30 years.

"It sends out a clear message that the Isle of Man today is a modern, open and inclusive society where equal rights are respected.

"I believe that the values of fairness and tolerance reflected in this legislation are shared by the overwhelming majority of our population."

– Allan Bell, Chief Minister

The Act enables same sex couples to marry either in a civil ceremony, in a register office or approved premises, or in religious premises (except those of the Church of England) subject to the agreement of the religious organisation in question.

The legislation also makes the Isle of Man the first place in the British Isles to allow opposite sex couples to enter into civil partnerships as an alternative to marriage.

Civil partnerships have been available to same sex couples in the Isle of Man since 2011.

  1. Helen McKenna

Investigation report into light aircraft crash says IoM plane 'could have stalled'

Ian Stirling was flying his light aircraft from Ronaldsway Airport and vanished off the radar system Credit: ITV

A 73-year-old from the Isle of Man whose remains have not been found after crashing his plane 'could have stalled' according to a report.

On 3 December last year, Ian Stirling was flying his light aircraft from Ronaldsway Airport and vanished off the radar system at 9:15AM.

The Air Accidents Investigations Branch reported that at 0910 hrs, the controller asked the pilot to report his range from Blackpool. No reply was received, and following further unsuccessful attempts to contact the aircraft, the Blackpool controller initiated search and rescue action.

Several helicopters were launched for search operations and their pilots remarked upon the low cloud, poor visibility, and ‘fishbowl’ effect

The report also mentioned "a technical fault or failure, or some external influence, cannot be entirely discounted."

Due to the severity of the weather, this prevented a search for the wreckage on the sea bed until 11 days later, when a Ministry of Defence team identified an object on the sea bed. The weather deteriorated again but on 19 January a police maritime search unit found an aircraft in the same location.

On the 28 January a light aircraft nosewheel with tyre was washed up and handed to Lytham Coastguard. It was heavily corroded, with a deflated tyre still attached.

The aircraft was operating in weather conditions that would have been challenging for the pilot, who held no instrument flying qualification.

"The available evidence suggests that the aircraft may have stalled at a height from which recovery was not possible.

"The engine was producing power at the point of impact with the sea but a technical fault or failure, or some external influence, cannot be entirely discounted.

– AAIB Field Investigation

School children on Isle of Man take on Loom Band Challenge

Primary school children on the Isle of Man have taken part in a 'loom-atic' challenge to raise funds for charity.

Scholl yn Jubilee Infant and Junior schools created a loom-band chain yesterday, with the challenge of making the chain 370 metres. So far they've raised £1,500, and the chain was 1,296 metres long. Funds will go to Alder Hey Children's Hospital and Ronald McDonald House.

The idea started when Sidney Veale wanted to thank Alder Hey for looking after him.

Helen McKenna has this report:

Over 75s in Isle of Man lose out on TV licences

Over 75s set to lose out on TV licences Credit: PA

Over 75s living on the Isle of Man will no longer be granted free TV licences from September.

The island's government currently pay for the fees, which was reviewed in February last year for the 2015 Budget.

Residents in receipt of income will still be eligible for help under a local scheme.

Licence renewals will be issued before September 1st.

Since the beginning of 2002, anyone aged 75 or over has been eligible to receive a free TV licence, irrespective of their means.

The same arrangement exists in the UK. However, the cost to the taxpayer of £700,000 a year is no longer affordable and cannot be justified.

– Bill Henderson MLC
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