Jersey’s Chief Minister might be used to criticism, but this week he’s faced a battering from an unexpected source – former Tory MP Louise Mensch.
The former politician and writer tweeted at Senator Ian Gorst in apparent disgust over the message of condolence to the country of Saudi Arabia after the death of King Abdullah.
There has been some criticism of the UK government’s decision to fly flags at half-mast in tribute to the late king, who died on 23 January after ten years on the throne of Saudi Arabia.
And Jersey has also drawn the ire of commentators – after political party Reform Jersey drew Louise Mensch’s attention to Jersey’s tribute to the late King, whose regime is notorious for human rights abuses, including appalling treatment of women and gays, she tweeted: “@ReformJersey Oh @Ian_Gorst. What part of #Saudi regime appealed to you more, lashing bloggers a thousand times or flogging women who drive?”
Asked to comment on the tweet, the States Communications Unit wrote: “Jersey, in common with the United Kingdom and other countries, observes diplomatic courtesies in relation to countries with which it engages. The Government accordingly sent its condolences on the death of H.M. King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud, via the Saudi Ambassador.”
The day before the King’s death, one Jersey businessman had already raised the issue of the States doing business with the Saudis.
PR consultant and freelance writer Kirsten Morel told Bailiwick Express at the time: “Saudi Arabia stands contrary to many values that we hold dear in Jersey. It is a country that flogs and imprisons women for driving. It also flogs and imprisons gay men as well as flogging and imprisoning people expressing their political views. It holds public beheadings.
“It deprives women of any personal freedom. It is linked with terrorist financing. The list goes on.
“These are not values that would be condoned by most people in Jersey and therefore our government should not act contrary to the views of Jersey people by bestowing such governments with official visits of any kind.”
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