Behind the Borders: 30 minutes with the Isle of Man Chief Minister

Full interview with Chief Minister, Howard Quayle MHK.

The leader of the Isle of Man, Howard Quayle, is a man who has been at the forefront of the pandemic leading the Island’s response to coronavirus, even testing positive for Covid-19 himself back in April last year.

A man whose background ranges from being the chairman of the Manx Farmers Union to more recently becoming Minister for Health and Social Care, before being elected as Chief Minister in 2016.

He had told me off-camera that he still hasn’t sat down and properly reflected on the last eleven months. 

This then felt like a unique moment for that opportunity, where we saw a different Chief Minister to the one we see in the press conferences, script in hand.

Instead, a more genuine, natural side to the Manx leader.

During the interview we spoke about borders, the economy, the ‘circuit break lockdown’, the vaccination rollout and his own mental health.

Mr Quayle also reflected on some of the decisions that were made last year, including whether it would have been better to close the borders earlier and also whether the repatriation of residents could have been done differently.

In his first extended TV interview, Howard Quayle reflects on the last eleven months leading the Isle of Man through the pandemic. Credit: ITV Granada Reports

The Isle of Man has very much been placed on a global stage after exiting its second lockdown on 1st February.

For Mr Quayle, this was followed by a week of worldwide interviews including an appearance on Good Morning Britain with Piers and Susanna.

No doubt a success, but could the circuit-break lockdown have been prevented with robust testing?

He remained adamant the government had acted as quickly as possible bringing in day 1, 7 and 13 tests on 22nd December, but admits if it was in place before then the lockdown could have perhaps been prevented.

I hope you can find the time to sit back and watch as the Chief Minister reflects on what has been a year none of us will forget.