25 September 2017
The Chief Minister, Senator Ian Gorst, has today lodged a proposition (P.84/2017) seeking the agreement of the States Assembly to select and appoint a Speaker and Deputy Speaker. This follows recommendations made by the Clothier and Carswell Reviews that the States should elect their own Speaker, and a request by the Independent Jersey Care Inquiry that these be considered again.
Senator Gorst commented “It is the norm in the democratic world for there to be a complete separation between the legislature and judiciary, and for a Parliament to elect its own Speaker. Jersey does not currently meet modern democratic principles on either of these matters. It is crucial that we address any suggestion, whether this be in practice or by perception, that Jersey does not adhere to internationally accepted standards of governance.”
The Chief Minister’s proposition provides detail around issues including
- who should be eligible to fulfil the role of Speaker and how they would be elected
- arrangements for a Deputy Speaker
- how the Speaker would represent his or her constituents
It also ensures that the Bailiff’s role as Civic Head would continue as at present.
Deputy Montfort Tadier commented “Three heavyweight reports that the States Assembly themselves commissioned have reported back that Jersey should adopt a separation of powers between legislature and judiciary. Both I and Reform Jersey remain committed to delivering on these important recommendations. We have been working collaboratively across the normal political divide in the best interests of the Island. We have therefore agreed to withdraw our existing proposition and we intend to support this proposition made by the Chief Minister, who also shares our objectives in this regard. Some States Members have indicated they wanted more detail on which to base a decision to elect their own Speaker, and this has been provided. I hope there will now be no reason for members to reject this simple but essential change.”
The proposition will be debated by the States Assembly on 14 November 2017.