Letters and emails detailing the strained working relationship between Chief Minister Kristina Moore and Infrastructure Minister Tom Binet have been made public – with tensions going as far back as last October.
In a break from "normal practice", the private correspondences were made public by the Chief Minister on Thursday following a Scrutiny panel's request for more information regarding allegedly unacceptable behaviour in senior levels of government.
Express looks at the timeline of the tensions...
Deputy Binet emails Deputy Moore about a “delicate, but extremely important matter”.
He writes of leaving two meetings and before a Council of Ministers’ meeting, all at the end of September, “feeling extremely stressed”.
He said he had had to leave the last of those, on 30 September, before it started and cancel all meetings for the rest of the day.
He writes: “Of perhaps more importance than my own wellbeing is that the extensive team who attend to our requirements and who rely on their jobs for their livelihoods. While you may not be content with their performance, I feel that they deserve to be treated with the same respect as we would hope to receive from them.
"Sadly, this courtesy was not apparent at the meeting of Wednesday 28th [a meeting of the Our Hospital Political Oversight Group].”
The Chief Minister replies, expressing “great disappointment” at receiving Deputy Binet’s email.
She writes: “It is inevitable that, from time-to-time, we will have disagreements on policy matters and in how we are seeking to achieve our collective objectives.“I am sure you recognise that my role is to set the strategic direction for the Council of Ministers and the whole organisation, and to that end I will always seek to provide my views, as constructively as I can, on matters of importance to Islanders and our public services.”
She adds: “We are all learning, and to that end, it was in my view a shame that you felt unable to join in the meeting on Friday which was an opportunity for the team of ministers to discuss how we can work together most effectively in the structure that we have.
“My hope and ambition is that we will all support each other as a team in good times and through our collective challenges.
“This will require openness from all of us, and us taking the time to talk through any temporary differences we may have in respect of a particular issue, rather than sharing those concerns with a wider circle. Such communication is critical to our long-term success.”
Pictured: Suzanne Wylie was Jersey's first female Government CEO.
Infrastructure Minister Tom Binet tells the media that the Government has been “disingenuous” in suggesting the shock resignation is down to family reasons and describes a “tense atmosphere” in Broad Street.
Deputies Moore and Binet have a “positive discussion”, in the Chief Minister’s view.
The Council of Ministers meet.
Deputies Moore and Binet have an unscheduled meeting at around 17:00 which began outside the Chief Minister’s office in Broad Street.
The topic was the heated Council of Ministers’ meeting the previous day.
Deputy Binet said that that Tuesday meeting had been ‘hostile’ and ‘he didn’t want to work in this atmosphere’.
He criticised the Chief Minister’s leadership and said he didn’t have confidence in her leadership.Deputy Moore said she was ‘surprised by [Deputy Binet’s] demeanour’ at the CoM meeting the day before and she didn’t recognise the atmosphere he had described.
Afterwards, Deputy Moore noted that the meeting was tense, and Deputy Binet had ’acted in an aggressive manner, both in language and actions. She noted she had been calm throughout.
Deputy Moore writes a letter to Deputy Binet, a fortnight after their frosty meeting in Broad Street. This was after the Infrastructure Minister had issued a statement saying that, after a period of reflection, he wished to stay in the role.
She writes that she has “no desire to see any changes in the membership of the Council of Ministers and hope we can now move forward together”.However, the Chief Minister recognises the situation is not resolved.
She writes: “We have reached a point where there is clearly a need to clarify and resolve this issue, especially in view of the upcoming States Assembly meeting of 18 April.
She continues: “I have extended an invitation for us to meet which I hope you will be able to accept. I trust you will understand that, as Chief Minister, I cannot allow a situation to continue where disagreements linger and distract us from the task of delivering on the plans that we have a demographic mandate to deliver.
“This ongoing situation risks that scenario arising. I am sorry that you previously expressed opinions about my leadership and, while you are free to hold those views, a working relationship and respect needs to be in place for the office and role of Chief Minister, and those of all fellow ministers.”
Deputy Moore writes to Deputy Sam Mézec, as chair of the Corporate Services Scrutiny Panel, responding to the panel’s request for further information about the anonymous allegation of a minister’s conduct, which had been previously made.
She writes that “an initial review found the allegations to be speculative and not factually correct or substantiated.” She agrees to publish correspondence between herself and Deputy Binet after it was referenced in the last States sitting.
The meeting note from the Wednesday 29 March encounter, she says, “demonstrates the efforts made to resolve disagreements between us”.
She adds: “This was a meeting which left me feeling very unsettled.”
Deputy Binet rejected accusations by the Chief Minister that he "acted in an aggressive manner" – suggesting that "perhaps it is easy to confuse the mood of a meeting where one is confronted with some rather unpalatable truths".
Deputy Binet confirmed that he knew about and was comfortable with all but one of the correspondences being made public.
He revealed that the inclusion of the Chief Minister’s letter dated 13 April “came as a surprise” to him, as it was not one of the documents that he had agreed to being made public.
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