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No Moore: Chief Minister ousted after historic no confidence vote

No Moore: Chief Minister ousted after historic no confidence vote

Tuesday 16 January 2024

No Moore: Chief Minister ousted after historic no confidence vote

Tuesday 16 January 2024

Kristina Moore has become Jersey's first Chief Minister to be ousted from the island's top political job... Who voted how? And what happens next?

Politicians voted 27 votes in favour of the motion of no confidence brought by former Infrastructure Minister Tom Binet, while 22 voted against. There were no abstentions.

Deputy Moore is the third Chief Minister in the island's history to have faced a no-confidence motion – alongside predecessors John Le Fondré in 2020, Ian Gorst in 2017 and Terry Le Sueur in 2010 – but is the first to fall victim to one.

How did the debate pan out?

While Ministers rushed to back her, their support was not enough, with Reform Jersey’s bloc of 10 and a team of dissatisfied Constables bolstering Deputy Binet in a debate, which numerous States Members described as "unedifying".

Criticisms raised during the debate ranged from Health spending and oversight, the handling of the new hospital project to the ongoing teacher pay row.

Deputy Binet pulled no punches as he opened the debate on whether Kristina Moore should continue to lead with an explosive allegation that he had witnessed former CEO Suzanne Wylie leaving Kristina Moore’s office in tears.

Deputy Moore denied that her relationship with the top civil servant had been problematic, however.

Some of the most scathing remarks during the debate came from the island's Constables, with St Martin’s Karen Shenton-Stone issuing a swift and unflinching take-down of Deputy Moore.

She said the Chief Minister had “lost sight of the public" and that Deputy Moore’s post-election promise of a “Better Way” had actually been a “move in the same direction”.

Former long-term ally Constable Andy Jehan, who resigned from the post of Assistant Chief Minister last year in protest over how the Health Department was being handled, said the government he had previously been a part of was responsible for more “U-turns and handbrakes” than the Jersey Rally.

But perhaps the greatest body blow came later in the form of a shock resignation from Constable Richard Vibert, who said he would be leaving his role of Assistant Minister to vote out the current leader.

Deputy Lyndon Farnham later revealed that, in a last-minute spot of political manoeuvring, Constable Vibert had in fact been offered the role of ‘Planning Minister’ by Deputy Moore – a deal that fell through when others found out.

Deputy Farnham – who himself was Deputy Chief when Kristina Moore brought a no-confidence motion against former leader John Le Fondré – went on to decry a Government that had focused on “PR” but less so the islanders it was supposed to serve.

Wrapping up, a somewhat tearful Deputy Moore described the day as a "low point" during her time in an office she described as a "huge honour" to hold.

Rebutting various criticisms levelled during the debate, she listed achievements in her just under two-year term of office, and pointed out the "contradictions" plaguing descriptions of her leadership, saying she had either been "too weak or too strong... a terrible leader or someone who has done a good job leading the island through a crisis".

In a very short statement ahead of the decisive vote, Deputy Binet said that he hoped that Members would vote for the "best interests of the island of Jersey".

How did each politician vote?

Voting to oust the Chief Minister...

VONC proposers: Tom Binet (proposer), Andy Howell (supporter), Mary Le Hegarat (supporter), Rose Binet (supporter)

Reform Jersey: Sam Mézec (Leader), Lyndsay Feltham (Deputy Leader), Catherine Curtis, Raluca Kovacs, Beatriz Porée, Geoffrey Southern, Montfort Tadier, Robert Ward

Other Deputies: Sir Philip Bailhache, Lyndon Farnham, Stephen Luce, Moz Scott, Barbara Ward.

Constables: Richard Honeycombe (St Ouen), Mike Jackson (St Brelade), Andy Jehan (St John), Mark Labey (Grouville), Philip Le Sueur (Trinity), Kevin Lewis (St Saviour), Karen Shenton-Stone (St Martin), Richard Vibert (St Peter).

Voting for the status quo...

Ministers: Deputy Kristina Moore (Chief Minister), Deputy Kirsten Morel (Deputy Chief), Deputy Ian Gorst (Treasury Minister), Deputy Helen Miles (Home Affairs), Deputy Karen Wilson (Health Minister), Deputy Elaine Millar (Social Security), Deputy Inna Gardiner (Education Minister), Deputy Philip Ozouf (External Relations), Deputy Jonathan Renouf (Environment), Deputy David Warr (Better War/Housing Minister), Deputy Carolyn Labey (International Relations), Deputy Steve Ahier (Acting Infrastructure Minister).

Assistant Chief Ministers: Connétable Simon Crowcroft, Deputy Alex Curtis (Better Way), Deputy Lucy Stephenson (Better Way).

Assistant Ministers: Deputy Louise Doublet, Deputy Malcolm Ferey, Deputy Hilary Jeune, Constable Marcus Troy.

Backbenchers: Deputy Max Andrews and Constables David Johnson and Deidre Mezbourian.

What was the reaction to the result?

Speaking outside the States Chamber shortly after losing her role, Deputy Moore spoke of a "current against modernisation", adding: "We have had hearsay, conjecture and bizarre personal issues which I can't understand, even though I've tried my best."

Numerous politicians took to social media to thank Deputy Moore for her service.

Deputy Moz Scott, who voted to oust her, paid tribute to the "hard work" of Jersey's first female Chief Minister. 

"Circumstances weren't such to keep her in that position but the value of her public service during troubled times is appreciated," she said.

Reform Leader Sam Mézec said the States Assembly had made the "right decision" but said islanders "should be grateful" for Deputy Moore's 18 months of service.

Though the States Assembly has made the right decision for Jersey today, we must recognise the personal toll this will have taken on Deputy Kristina Moore.

He wished her well for the future.

Housing Minister, and 'Better Way' member with Kristina Moore, David Warr paid tribute to Deputy Moore's leadership.

Deputy Lucy Stephenson, who was also a fellow 'Better Way' candidate and Assistant Chief Minister, said it had been an "honour and a privilege" to serve in government.

She shared a quote from Winston Churchill, stating: "...It has been said that democracy is the worst form of Government, except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time."

Assistant Minister Malcolm Ferey described the vote as an "infamous day in Jersey politics".

He added this morning that the "great reset in Jersey politics begins today".

Where does that 'reset' begin?

Finding a new Chief

States Members now have seven working days to select a new Chief Minister, with Deputy Moore remaining in post until a new candidate is chosen and the appointments for a new Council of Ministers have been finalised.

Deputy Tom Binet has already publicly stated that he will stand for the role, while Kristina Moore has publicly committed to supporting Treasury Minister and former Chief Minister Ian Gorst.

Reform Jersey's Sam Mézec will stand, and Express also understands that Deputy Lyndon Farnham is considering making a bid for the top role.

What happens to Ministers' ongoing work?

The civil service has entered a period of 'purdah', and Ministers will continue in their roles as 'caretakers'. They won't be able to use the Government's Communications and PR team for any 'political' communications for the time being.

Does States Assembly business continue in the meantime?

The Assembly is set to reconvene on Wednesday morning at 09:30 to debate the items left on this week's agenda – including a proposition to allow Members to vote remotely in the subsequent meetings to select a Chief Minister designate and other Ministers in the new Council of Ministers, and a controversial proposition to change the Assembly roll call order.


Shock resignation from Assistant Minister to back vote of no confidence

◆ BLOW-BY-BLOW: How the vote of no confidence debate played out

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