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Chief Minister Resigns 3 December 2004

Richard Corkill MHK has today (Thursday, December 2, 2004) tendered his resignation as Chief Minister in the interests of the Isle of Man and his family.

Mr Corkill stated:

"I am stepping down to safeguard the integrity of the office of Chief Minister of the Isle of Man. This has become necessary because of the fact that my wife and I were arrested yesterday in connection with allegations concerning our family business at Ballacain.

"The arrest was part of a process at a pre-arranged interview, and we were bailed and released without charge. However, it is clear that this development increases the pressure of public suspicion and speculation to a point where I have to step aside to protect the good name and credibility of the Isle of Man Government.

"My decision does not mean that allegations against myself and my wife have any more substance than they had before. Indeed, we remain completely confident that due process will confirm that allegations against us are false, and that we are innocent of any wrongdoing."

Mr Corkill said an important factor in his decision, which was taken with deep regret, was the prolonged public pressure that his family was enduring while the allegations were investigated.

Mr Corkill explained that the Council of Ministers would remain in place, and that Treasury Minister Allan Bell MHK would chair its meetings pending Tynwald's appointment of a successor. This is expected at the next sitting of Tynwald on December 14.

Mr Bell commented:

"Richard Corkill has been a dedicated and effective Chief Minister over the past three years and it is very sad that he has decided to stand down from the post.

"However, there will be no change in the direction of the Isle of Man Government's economic strategy or in the policies that have made the Island such a success as an international business centre. The development of our economic strategy and policies has spanned different administrations and Ministers, and they command broad consensus support in the Island's Council of Ministers and Parliament."

The Isle of Man is a self-governing British Crown Dependency with its own parliament (Tynwald), government, and laws.

The Island does not have a party political system and its Chief Minister is appointed by Tynwald. The Chief Minister heads the Council of Ministers, the Isle of Man 'Cabinet', which is accountable to Tynwald.

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