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 Only Two Ministers wanted the TT to Go Ahead

David Cretney

Only treasury Minister Richard Corkill supported Tourism Minister David Cretney in his battle to save the TT, we have learned. The two ministers wanted the festival to go ahead despite the threat of foot-and-mouth, while seven were opposed to it.

It's believed Transport Minister Tony Brown, Department of Local Government and Environment Minister Walter Gilbey and Trade and Industry Minister David North were also supportive of staging the festival when ministers met for what many believed would be decision day.

Their change of heart - when ministers finally voted - led to the festival being cancelled.

Ironically the decision to cancel was made after they all met foot-and-mouth expert Professor Fred Brown, brought to the Island by frozen food boss Mike Priest, who believed the TT should go ahead.

Mr Corkill would not say which way he voted at the meeting, stating: 'I haven't got any comment really. It was a Council of Ministers collective decision. I know there's been some speculation on who was for and who was against the TT. It's one of those finely balanced decisions. Now the decision has been made it's the Treasury's job to make sure we minimise the damage for the Island as much as possible.'

Home Affairs Minister Allan Bell did not attend Monday's crunch meeting but refused to say why.
'I was off the Island, that's enough,' he said.

Neither Mr Cretney nor Chief Minister Donald Gelling would reveal who voted which way and other ministers quoted the Council of Ministers Act, which deems the council's voting procedure confidential.

Trade and Industry Minister David North said: 'The Council of Ministers Act is quite clear - proceedings are confidential,' while Education Minister Steve Rodan echoed Mr North's comments.

Local Government and the Environment Minister Walter Gilbey said: 'I am afraid that I have no comment as the proceedings in the Council of Ministers are confidential.'

Health and Social Security Minister Clare Christian said: 'Council of Ministers decisions are collective. It would therefore be inappropriate for me to respond to your question.'

Agriculture Minister Alex Downie was off the Island and unavailable for comment.

Mr Gelling said the reason why ministers were silenced was because he wanted the right decision put out to the media at the right time.

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