Monday 20 May 2024
Select a region

INSIGHT: Manoeuvring, “misogyny” and momentum… Snapshots of an "unedifying" spectacle

INSIGHT: Manoeuvring, “misogyny” and momentum… Snapshots of an

Wednesday 17 January 2024

INSIGHT: Manoeuvring, “misogyny” and momentum… Snapshots of an "unedifying" spectacle

Wednesday 17 January 2024

Express takes an in-depth look at the debate which eventually saw Kristina Moore become Jersey's first Chief Minister to be ousted from the island's top political job last night...

As the day unfolded, much of the behind-the-scenes political manoeuvring that took place ahead of the debate was revealed, while many speakers repeatedly returned to the phrase "unedifying"...

The manoeuvring...

Using ministerial responsibilities as "pieces on a chessboard"

Some examples of political manoeuvring were obvious even before the debate, as Deputy Binet claimed that the Chief Minister informed him that he would lose responsibility for sustainable transport – an area which traditionally falls under the remit of the Infrastructure Minister.

Speaking just days after he lodged the vote of no confidence, Deputy Binet explained: “A few weeks ago, possibly about a month ago, and very, very unusually – almost for the first time in the whole of my time there – I was invited to a meeting to be informed that transport was being removed from my ministerial portfolio."

Les Sablons Broad Street Pedestrianised.jpg

Pictured: Deputy Binet suggested that responsibility for transport was set to be given to Deputy Renouf to "manage the tensions" resulting from the Les Sablons development controversy. 

Although he said that "no reasons were offered" as to why, Deputy Binet claimed that “this was just being done as a result of political expediency in order to try to manage the tensions that had developed with the Environment Minister" as a result of the controversy surrounding the planning permission for the Les Sablons development.

Deputy Binet said that this showed that "the Chief Minister thinks that the operational side of things are pieces on a chessboard that you can push in any direction".

“There was no consideration or concern for what the operational effects of it were, not even an inquiry. In business terms that would be an act of suicide,” he added.

“Ultimatums were given”

Other attempts of political manoeuvring did not emerge until during yesterday's debate.

Deputy Lyndon Farnham slammed the Government’s “mantra for openness and transparency” as “empty words”, describing “a PR-led Government that seems to be more interested in image”.

He suggested that the timing of the vote of no confidence led to a “swift moving of the deckchairs” with “laudable” promises to business leaders at Chamber of Commerce business lunch – in which the Chief Minister reduced the 2024 priorities from seven to five without consulting the Assembly.


Pictured: Appearing before a sold out Chamber of Commerce business lunch last week, Kristina Moore pledged to rein in a number of Government projects to save £30m – but could not reveal which projects when questioned in the Assembly yesterday.

Deputy Farnham then revealed that the Chief Minister tried to split the responsibility for Environment and Planning shortly before the vote of no confidence was tabled.

He claimed that Deputy Moore offered the new position of Planning Minister to the Constable of St Peter, Richard Vibert – who he said “duly accepted”.

However, Deputy Farnham said that people then found out and were “not too pleased”.

He said that “ultimatums were given” and it was eventually decided that Deputy Renouf would remain in his current role. 

A shock resignation

Constable Vibert found himself at the centre of the action twice during yesterday's debate.

The Constable of St Peter resigned down from his role as Assistant Minister mid-way through the States sitting in order to vote "in accordance with [the] views" of his parishioners.

Constable Vibert stepped down from his roles as Assistant Minister for Children and Education, and for Treasury and Resources – confirming that this was in order to be able to vote in support of the vote of no confidence.


Pictured: Constable Richard Vibert resigned from his Assistant Minister roles mid-way though yesterday's vote of no confidence debate.

Speaking in the States Assembly yesterday afternoon, Constable Vibert explained that he had received “numerous calls and messages from parishioners” prior to the debate and said that he “had to vote in accordance with their views”.

Constable Vibert said that his parishioners had raised concerns about the current Government's "lack of understanding about the cost of living crisis", the "lack of progress" on rezoned land in St Peter, infrastructure and drainage issues, and the "very slow development of the hospital".

The Constable of St Peter concluded that, due to these issues, he was left with "no choice but to resign [his] position and support the vote of no confidence".

A “hierarchal system of Government” with a “secretive and elitist” Cabinet Office

Deputy Rose Binet – who recently resigned from her role as Assistant Health Minister – spoke in yesterday's debate to say that she would be supporting the vote of no confidence based on her “personal experience over the past 18 months”.

Deputy Rose Binet said that she felt like a "lone voice, questioning the information being given" and claimed that her "card was marked" from the beginning of her time as Assistant Health Minister when she queried untrue information stated in a meeting by a Health officer.

She described being “constructively dismissed” in a “hierarchal system of Government” with a “secretive and elitist” Cabinet Office.


Pictured: Deputy Rose Binet spoke in support of her brother, Tom – and outlined a lengthy "charge sheet" of cases where she had been ignored by the Health Minister

Deputy Rose Binet claimed that she had not been invited to Heath meetings, and that "the Health Minister had demonstrated to me that I was not someone she wanted on her team".

She outlined numerous incidents involving the Health Minister and Health officers, which Deputy Rose Binet said "clearly reinforced the views of those in power that I should be silenced as much as possible". 

"I brought these issues to the attention of the Chief Minister who unfortunately did nothing," she added.

The misogyny...

A recurring theme

Deputy Binet opened the debate by refuting any suggestion that misogyny was at play – but the theme kept returning throughout the debate.

The former Infrastructure Minister reflected on comments from the Chief Minister's allies to the media in the run-up to the debate – including a suggestion from External Relations Minister Philip Ozouf that "misogyny" was at play – that he considered "rather rude and unnecessary".

This, he claimed, reflected that "the Chief Minister and her closest advisers are reluctant to face reality".

"I feel a certain degree of sadness for some of my female colleagues" 

Deputy Max Andrews expressed sympathy for Deputy Moore and other female colleagues who he said may have been on the receiving end of “inhumane” comments.

“I feel a certain degree of sadness for some of my female colleagues, and especially for the Chief Minister," said Deputy Andrews. "This is the first female leader that this island has seen and look what she's having to go through.

“Politics aside it must be horrible, for two weeks, how the poor Chief Minister had to go home and she must be so so upset and then she's having to put a brave face on publicly because again she is the front of of this Government."

Deputy Andrews continued: “It's in my view inhumane, to a certain extent, what she's had to go through with some of the comments that have been made – and for me it's been quite sickening and I'm a very principled person.”


Pictured: “I feel a certain degree of sadness for some of my female colleagues, and especially for the Chief Minister," said Deputy Max Andrews.

The politician also used his speech to praise the" most progressive Council of Ministers we've seen to date" – singling out Deputy Miles as a "fantastic politician", and both Deputy Miller Deputy Jeune as a "very capable lady”.

However, Deputy Andrews' contribution ended in controversy as he questioned the motives of the Constable of St Peter in resigning from Government – bringing a warning from the Bailiff, and a retort from Constable Richard Vibert that he would report Deputy Andrews to the commissioner for standards.

VONC signatory "offended" by suggestion of misogyny 

Vote of no confidence signatory and St Helier Deputy Mary Le Hegarat said she had originally made a decision not to speak during the debate.

However, the furious politician said she had been “offended” by Deputy Andrews’ suggestions that any level of misogyny may have underscored the vote of no confidence motion – noting that she was a co-signatory alongside two other female Deputies, Rose Binet and Andy Howell – before outlining a number of other areas of frustration with the current leadership.

The (lost) momentum...

Freight train or Formula One car?

For some reason, Housing Minister David Warr decided to tackle the issue of momentum in an extended analogy about a train.

Explaining that change is slower in the public sector than the private sector, Deputy Warr described Government as “more akin to a large freight train than a Formula One car”.

Continuing the analogy, Deputy Warr described Kristina Moore as the “new driver” of the freight train and highlighted on the importance of “momentum”.

“When things break, we have to stop the train to carry out repairs,” he explained. “It takes time to rebuild momentum; the good news is that we have that momentum.”


Pictured: For some reason, Housing Minister David Warr decided to tackle the issue of momentum in an extended analogy about a train.

Deputy Warr said that changing leadership would result in a “loss of momentum”, describing it as the equivalent to taking the Government freight train off the track for repairs.

“We’re all heading for the same place,” he added. “Why don’t we just stay on that moving train?”

“We have momentum – let’s get on and deliver!” concluded Deputy Warr.

Mini budget momentum

Deputy Max Andrews also briefly mentioned the topic of momentum, suggesting that the loss of momentum after the successful mini budget may have contributed to people feeling a lack of action.

“I think maybe there was a lot of momentum behind that mini budget and the public were expecting this continue," he said.

"Of course you cannot sustain that across time and so there was maybe this disappointment afterwards across a prolonged period of time."

Many other Ministers used the argument of losing moment or wasting time as a key reason why Kristina Moore should stay in post.

Describing himself as a “rookie” Assistant Chief Minister keen to keep his new role, Constable Crowcroft said that it would be “unwise to have a reset” of Government.

“Are things so very bad that we need a change of Government?” he asked. “We’re talking about at least four months of time wasted, possibly more.”

"I fear will take time to rebuild"

Treasury Minister Ian Gorst also highlighted the importance of “political stability” – which he said was the reason why every vote of no confidence in a Chief Minister had been unsuccessful so far.


Pictured: Treasury Minister Ian Gorst said that a vote of no confidence “cannot be a good thing for our island’s political stability or wider economic and social stability.”

Deputy Gorst said: “Once an Assembly has voted to remove a Chief Minister and therefore a Government it will, in my mind, become easier to do so for a second time.

“That cannot be a good thing for our island’s political stability or wider economic and social stability.”

He urged those who are still undecided on how to vote to “be mindful of that stability which has been long fought for and long argued for”.

“Once gone, I fear will take time to rebuild,” he concluded.


INSIGHT: Who has their eyes on the top job?

No Moore: Chief Minister ousted after historic no confidence vote

Shock resignation from Assistant Minister to back vote of no confidence

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

Sign up to newsletter



Comments on this story express the views of the commentator only, not Bailiwick Publishing. We are unable to guarantee the accuracy of any of those comments.

You have landed on the Bailiwick Express website, however it appears you are based in . Would you like to stay on the site, or visit the site?