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Former Senators seek role's return hours after becoming Deputies

Former Senators seek role's return hours after becoming Deputies

Monday 27 June 2022

Former Senators seek role's return hours after becoming Deputies

Monday 27 June 2022


Hours after being sworn in as a district Deputy, former Senator Ian Gorst has officially asked the new States Assembly to bring back the island-wide mandate.

The former Chief Minister and External Relations Minister – a long-time advocate of politicians, or at least some of them, being elected by all islanders – has lodged a formal proposal which seeks in-principle backing of the return of Senators.

Working with Deputy Lyndon Farnham, Deputy Gorst asks the States to re-instate the role of Senator in time for the next election in 2026.

He then asked for the Assemblies ‘internal affairs’ group, the Privileges and Procedures Committee, to come up with proposals. 

How would it work?

There are broadly three options:

  • return to the old system of eight Senators and 29 Deputies;
  • remove one seat from each of the nine districts and turn them into Senatorial seats; or
  • give all seats an island-wide mandate.

The loss of the island-wide mandate was one of the most controversial features of the 2022 election, which removed the seat of Senator, replacing it with 37 Deputy seats in nine ‘super-constituencies’.

A "very clear message"

Deputy Gorst said: “This proposition is lodged in response to a very clear message that we received during the General Election campaign from our electorate in St. Mary, St. Ouen and St. Peter. 

“We were repeatedly told by voters that they were unhappy at the loss of the Senators and wished to see their return at the next election. 

“Indeed, in my 17 years as a States Member, which has taken me through six elections, I have never known any single issue to be raised with such frequency when talking with voters on the doorstep. I understand that this was reflected in most, if not all, of the other electoral districts."

Gorst St Ouen hustings.jpg

Pictured: Then-Senator Gorst addresses the St. Ouen Deputies' hustings earlier this month.

He continued: “Senator Farnham and I both made manifesto commitments that, if elected, we would bring a proposition to the new States Assembly seeking to bring back Senators in time for the 2026 General Election. 

“We both specially mentioned the Senators in our speeches at all three Parish Hall hustings in our District. We asked the public to vote for us as a means of bringing back Senators.

“In lodging this proposition, having both been elected, we are meeting our clear manifesto commitments to the parishioners of St. Mary, St. Ouen and St. Peter.”

More navel gazing?

In his proposition, Deputy Gorst tackles the issue that his plan could be seen as yet more States navel gazing.

“Any effort to present this proposition as another example of the States Assembly talking about itself would be mis-guided, and out-of-touch with public opinion,” he said. “This proposition is an example of the States seeking to talk about an issue of significant and direct concern to Islanders.

“Senator Farnham and I acknowledge that Jersey faces important challenges – the housing and cost of living crises, population, putting the public finances back into order and growing our economy. These issues were also raised during the election campaign and must be addressed. 

“This proposition is not, however, detrimental to any of the work that must now also commence to deal with those issues and which we will of course support.

“The next four years needs to be defined by a States Assembly, and a Government, which listens to the public and takes action to meet their concerns. The adoption of this proposition can set the tone and get us off to a strong start.”

Pictured top: Deputies Ian Gorst and Lyndon Farnham speaking with Constable Deidre Mezbourian straight after States Members were sworn in by the Royal Court on Monday morning.

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Comments

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Posted by Scott Mills on
moving the finish post I see, and the start line all in one sentence. Couldn't see this one coming.
Posted by Jon Jon on
You can't go back ,only forwards so ALL election candidates on an Island Wide Vote,that way we get the politicians we want and probably far more diverse assembly!
Posted by Keith Marsh on
The people did not want the role of Senators to go, it was those in the States Assembly that forced this change through. Change it back,
Posted by Keith Marsh on
Yes, I like that idea Jon Jon
Posted by Martin on
Island wide voting is the only way to go for a better & fairer result!

The segmented role of voting we have just endured WAS/IS madness!
Posted by Pat Devine on
The people did want electoral reform. The previous system only served to gerrymander the vote and keep the wealthy in power.why should small wealthy parishes have more seats in the chamber than St Helier.
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