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INSIGHT: Swearing, name-calling, and "inappropriate" Chanel gifting… reports shed light on toxic political spat

INSIGHT: Swearing, name-calling, and

Wednesday 30 August 2023

INSIGHT: Swearing, name-calling, and "inappropriate" Chanel gifting… reports shed light on toxic political spat

Wednesday 30 August 2023

From swearing, to name-calling and "inappropriate" gifting of "inordinately expensive" goods... New reports published by the States behaviour watchdog have thrown light on a toxic spat between two politicians.

Both have now been asked to make official apologies for breaching the standards that govern States Members' behaviour – and one is facing a vote of censure.

Express took a closer look at the reports, which were published last night...

The reports

Deputy Max Andrews and Deputy Moz Scott – who used to sit on the Economic and International Affairs Scrutiny Panel together before Deputy Andrews resigned in March – were separately referred to Commissioner for Standards Dr Melissa McCullough earlier this year.

Deputy Andrews was referred for what were described as "discourteous communications to her and about her; and violation of her personal boundaries", which involved compliments that she looked "stunning", occasions in which he gifted her an "inordinately expensive" box of chocolates, Chanel perfume and bath oil, in addition to a heated exchange on Liberation Day when he was reported to have called her a "silly cow".

The complaint against Deputy Scott, submitted by Deputy Sam Mezec in his capacity as President of the Scrutiny Liaison Committee, alleged that she used "inappropriate language" toward Deputy Andrews  where she told him to "f*** off" – in November 2022 over the telephone and over Microsoft Teams in February 2023.

The Commissioner found that Deputy Scott breached the Code of Conduct for elected officials, and should issue an apology.

While the Commissioner concluded that Deputy Andrews did not intend to "hurt or offend" Deputy Scott with various gifts and comments, she requested that Deputy Andrews also should "apologise to the States Assembly for his behaviour" by way of personal statement and write a personal letter of apology to Deputy Scott.

Deputy Andrews was found to have breached Article 5 of the Code of Conduct by "his sustained disrespectful communications to Deputy Scott and about Deputy Scott including public posts, gratuitous insults and his continuous loose talk and malicious gossip about Deputy Scott."

The Commissioner considered the breaches of the Code of Conduct to be "significant in nature" and invited the Privileges and Procedures Committee to consider further sanction such as censure or suspension.

After the Commissioner completed her investigation, and submitted her report to the PPC, the committee was advised that Deputy Andrews had sent Deputy Scott an email with a document called 'Notes on Moz'.

It contained "sensitive, confidential and unverified information" which formed part of his original submission to the Commissioner and PPC has considered this event as part of its overall conclusions.

On 25 August, Deputy Andrews attended the committee and "there did not appear to be an acknowledgement from the Deputy of his actions and what impact they might have had on Deputy Scott. Nor did it appear that the Deputy accepted the outcome of the Commissioner's investigation and her recommendations."

Complaints against Max Andrews


Pictured: Deputy Max Andrews of St. Helier North.

Two complaints against Deputy Andrews were submitted by Deputy Scott on 29 April and on 10 May, and are detailed in this report.

In the first complaint, Deputy Scott states in her written evidence, that over time she was "becoming increasingly aware of the Deputy's lack of life experience and maturity, his psychological need for approval, his tendency to attach himself to women and a lack of instinct regarding appropriate behaviour and social boundaries."

At a Diwali event on 29 October, which both attended, Deputy Scott dressed in "traditional Indian attire".

Deputy Andrews said he thought it was impressive that she had gone to the effort to do so and that he admired the outfit and told Deputy Scott that she "looked stunning".

According to Deputy Andrews, "...she said, 'That's very inappropriate.' I was a bit taken aback because I was a bit like, 'Oh, I didn't mean it in that context.' I said, 'I think you've taken this out of context.' I said, 'Your dress was splendid and very appropriate for the evening.'"

Deputy Scott claimed that Deputy Andrews made the comment the following day and repeated it the day after.

Deputy Andrews refuted the claim, and said: "It hurts having somebody accuse me of such a thing that I wouldn't do. I'm never going to put a woman in an awkward position where I would repeat the same words if she has demonstrated that she's unhappy with it, even though it was a compliment, and that's really been grating on me."

He explained that it was a compliment and that it was not his intention to make her feel uncomfortable.

Gifts were also the subject of complaint. On 10 November, Deputy Andrews gave Deputy Scott what she described as "an inordinately expensive box of chocolates".

He also gave a box of chocolates to fellow Scrutiny Panel member Deputy Raluca Kovacs on the same day in "an attempt to help boost morale", according to the Commissioner in her conclusions.

Deputy Andrews hit back and said she was now using the gift against him to "...take out Deputy Andrews in his career... she's just aiming to try and do whatever she can to destabilise me. Things like this shouldn't really be featuring in the complaint."

On 12 December, Deputy Scott was the recipient of Chanel perfume, Molton Brown bath oil, Jo Malone room spray and chocolate chip biscuits.

He also gave perfume to Deputy Kovacs – which she returned.

Deputy Scott said she felt "uncomfortable" with the gifts and their price: "Deputy Andrews answered that he had bought them for me because I had been supportive of him since he had been elected and he would have struggled without me and thanked me for being there for him. I thanked him but told him it was unnecessary extravagance as I try to be supportive of all my fellow States Members when I can be. In response to my informing him I wasn't comfortable with gifts from colleagues that weren't to mark a special occasion, he said they were my Christmas presents."

Deputy Andrews said: "The reason why I did it is I knew it was Christmas and Deputy Kovacs wanted a vote of no confidence at that point. I thought, as a panel, if the three of us haven't even sat down yet, that would just be unfair to bring forward a vote of no confidence in January by saying, 'By the way, we want you out.' I knew I had to do something... So in the end, I just purchased a couple of presents and yes, she seemed to be uncomfortable when I told her about the presents."

On 16 December, Deputy Scott met with Chair of the Privileges and Procedures Committee to explain "how unsettled she was by Deputy Andrews' behaviour, inconsistency and mixed messaging, particularly in light of some of his earlier comments", such as "When I asked if he had a girlfriend at one of the lunches, informing me he hadn't had one and 'to be honest' preferred older women".

On 19 December, Deputy Andrews stated to the Greffier that "Deputy Scott insinuated I had a crush on her, which was absurd."

Deputy Scott also asserted that Deputy Andrews's use of gender-specific and gender-nuanced or gender-referenced language such as "slamming a handbag on the table" and referring to her as being "difficult and argumentative" made her feel uncomfortable. She also provided evidence that shows Deputy Andrews used expressions on the panel's Teams chat that she found offensive including "give it a rest Moz".

The complaint also concerned comments made on social media by Deputy Andrews which referred to Deputy Scott.

The report said that, during an exchange on Liberation Day, Deputy Andrews confronted Deputy Scott when she was "drinking [her] coffee in the company of my colleagues", and called her a "silly cow".

He said: "I told Deputy Scott she annoyed me with her vexatious complaint against me which was proven to be a lie, so I said, 'You cow' in regard to the unwarranted stress she has placed on me making false accusations."

"The Constables of St. Peter and Grouville and Deputies Miles and Le Hegarat intervened. Deputy Le Hegarat said Deputy Andrews and I should not be having this sort of exchange on Liberation Day. I said I agreed with her and I had not started the confrontation. Deputy Miles placed herself between Deputy Andrews and me while the two Constables kept him from continuing the exchange."

What the Commissioner said:

Following investigation of these complaints, the Commissioner, whose independent work is funded by taxpayers, concluded that "both deputies struggle to communicate effectively with each other."

She continued: "Deputy Andrews finds Deputy Scott's way of communicating frustrating and there is evidence from Deputy Andrews, Deputy Scott and others which highlight the difficulties between the two deputies which appears to have impacted negatively on their working relationship."

"... I do not believe Deputy Andrews gave these gifts to Deputy Scott to romantically woo her – he stated any such suggestion was absurd."

"Whatever the reason, I do not believe Deputy Andrews intended to hurt or offend Deputy Scott when he gave her gifts, however, it could be argued that he should have known the gifts were inappropriate."

The Commissioner also considered a complaint about Deputy Andrews using gendered language.

She said: "In relation to the allegation of Deputy Andrews' use of gender-specific and gender-nuanced or gender-referenced language, Deputy Andrews contends he was merely saying what he saw—for example, she slammed her handbag down on the table—that is what he saw. I am not convinced that recounting it in the way he did was meant by him to be derogatory in nature, but accept that perhaps bespoke training might elucidate the problems associated with the use of gender-specific, gender-nuanced or gender-referenced language."

Turning to comments Deputy Andrews had made about his colleague on social media, the Commissioner found these to be "disrespectful, reckless, and made without any regard to Deputy Scott in terms of the embarrassment or impact to her reputation", adding that they were "gratuitous and unjustified".

"Both Deputy Scott and Deputy Andrews are new members. It appears to me to be well known amongst States Members that there have been problems in their working relationship to date; it has been said to me by members that they find it difficult to get along," Dr McCullough continued.

"...I am not convinced submitting Code of Conduct complaints was the best way to try and resolve the issues between them. But here we are. And as we are here, it is my hope that the following advice will provide some added value to this investigation."

"Deputy Andrews and Deputy Scott (and all States Members for that matter) need to understand that compromise is essential. Focussing on the best in your colleagues and overlooking the worst where and when possible is helpful when doing your job. As one member eloquently put it to me "People are all wired differently, and we need to embrace differences". A firm commitment to working as part of a wider team is essential and is possible; where it may feel impossible, you must still commit yourselves to an acceptable level of civility towards each other. Where there is incivility, call it out with each other as good leaders should.

"The aim is to get to a place where there is a mutual baseline respect for each other, where there can be professional debate with each other, where challenges and probing questions are not taken personally, and where there is a concerted effort made to understand each-others' perspective while still maintaining one's own perspective. If we can get to that place, Jersey as a whole will be much better off."

Complaint against Moz Scott


Pictured: Deputy Moz Scott of St. Brelade speaking in the States Assembly.

A referral on 24 March from Deputy Sam Mézec, who chairs the group that oversees all Scrutiny Panels, the Scrutiny Liaison Committee (SLC), related to language used by Deputy Moz Scott towards Deputy Andrews. It is outlined in this report.

It is alleged that Deputy Scott used inappropriate language towards Deputy Andrew on two occasions; once in November 2022 over the telephone and once on a Microsoft Teams meeting on 14 February. On both occasions she told him to "f*** off".

On 12 January, Deputy Scott apologised to Deputy Andrews for the November 2022 swearing incident, which he accepted. In relation to the 14 February swearing incident, there is disagreement between the deputies as to whether Deputy Scott apologised.

Deputy Mézec states that the SLC regrettably, despite having engaged with Deputy Scott on three occasions, had not been able to satisfactorily resolve the situation.

Deputy Scott said: "I was exasperated, worn out and angry at the unnecessary situation he was putting me in and used the most concise form of words that came into my head at the time to end the call and enable me to return to my constituent work rather than have an unproductive and distracting conversation discussing his feelings and perception of my personal flaws without him accepting my position regarding my own feelings about him, having already refused mediation."

Deputy Andrews asserted that Deputy Scott, in her capacity as chair of the panel, at times cut him off, did not listen to him, did not keep to time, contacted him out of normal working hours, among other criticisms.

He stated that he was never rude to Deputy Scott and that it was "her way or the highway".

He said: "...I received a phone call and she imploded. That's the only way how I can describe it. She just went into a tirade, and I was uncertain how to deal with it. So I was just in silence, but she was shouting profanities down the phone. I've never seen her like this. I've seen her be tenacious and abrasive but never raise her voice. The conversation lasted about three minutes, and towards the tail end of the conversation I said, 'I think you need to calm down.' And that was when she said, 'F off.' But during the phone call she threatened to call me back, once she had calmed down, and that was something that was very unwelcomed...."

What the Commissioner said: 

The Commissioner concluded: "On balance, I believe it was a culmination of events that led up to each of the occasions that could have led to Deputy Scott's use of such language. It is conceivable that Deputy Scott's patience was running thin with Deputy Andrews; she stated at interview that 'he could try the patience of a saint'."

What happens now?

The Commissioner recommended that both Deputy Scott and Deputy Andrews apologise to the States Assembly, whose next sitting is on Tuesday 12 September.

Following the publication of the Commissioner's reports, the Privileges and Procedures Committee – the panel which oversees the running of the States Assembly – has proposed a vote of censure against Deputy Andrews. The debate is currently scheduled for the next States Assembly sitting.

In the case of Deputy Scott, PPC said that they felt a personal letter of apology to Deputy Andrews would be sufficient.

The ongoing saga has also left a question mark over the running of the Economic and International Affairs Panel, which scrutinises the island's economic and external relations policy.

In December 2022, it consisted of Deputy Scott (Chair), Deputy Kovacs (Vice-Chair) and Deputy Andrews (Panel Member). According to the Commissioner's report, all three Deputies agree that "relationships on the Panel deteriorated over time".

"Various efforts by Deputy Scott, Deputy Andrews and Deputy Kovacs to try and sort their differences out as a Panel were not successful," it continued.

On 21 March 2023, Deputy Kovacs and Deputy Andrews resigned.

St. Clement Constable Marcus Troy was also previously a member of the panel, but resigned in July of this year.

Deputy Scott and Constable Richard Honeycombe remain the only two members of the panel.

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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.

Once your comment has been submitted, it won’t appear immediately. There is no need to submit it more than once. Comments are published at the discretion of Bailiwick Publishing, and will include your username.

Posted by john garner on
There are no comments for this article. or you wont print them ?
Posted by Man BearPig on
Quit acting like children and just get on with running the island.
Posted by IanSmith97 on
Context is all but if a Deputy comments a female Deputy on dressing up in Indian attire (is that itself not inappropriate cultural appropriation by Deputy Mott?) for a Hindu festival saying “you look stunning”, then it is a very sad day indeed. Perhaps he was complimenting her for the results of her dressing in Indian attire? Again, is this what it has come to?
Posted by Bob Wareing-Jones on
Oh dear! All rather unedifying and one we have sadly become used to in the murky world that is politics. Over the years our news and newspapers have been full of the ‘goings on’ behind the scenes in parliaments around the world. Politicians all know the dangers associated with entering public life, and most at least aware of the rules covered by the well documented Standards In Public Life expected by the electorate and policed accordingly. However, all of us are human and make silly mistakes, utter words we had rather not and taken decisions which on reflection we wish we hadn’t! These days however, the chances of public officials getting away with unacceptable behaviour is unlikely and social media provides a ready avenue for gossip and conjecture. Pointing ones index finger at another person has always been fraught with danger and its often good advice to look down at ones own hand before doing so, because if you do, it can easily be noticed that at least 3 fingers are pointing right back at oneself! We can only hope this latest tale of political and human discourse can be sensibly resolved and these elected officials encouraged to concentrate on that which they were elected for! To govern for the Common Good of all.
Posted by Dave Mathews on
We need a new direction in the next elections.
This Pantomime cannot continue.
Posted by Michael Blampied on
He said, she said! No he didn’t, yes she did! Ladies and Gentlemen I give you the States of Jersey! Doesn’t it make you proud? How much are we paying these people again?
Posted by John Henwood on
These Deputies have behaved like children arguing in the playground except we are paying these crypto juvenile delinquents £50,000 a year. And what have we got from them? Not a lot. Neither has exactly distinguished themself in over a year in office and one imagines the electorate will remember this episode come the next election. People demanded change before last year’s election and it seems we’ve got it. Is it a change for the better I wonder? It doesn’t seem like it at present.
Posted by Jetz Maddox on
Do the people involved think the island needs to have a public 'Karen' fight? Grow up. You all wanted to control a piece of this island and as soon as the public gave it to you, you repay them by showing your immaturity? So island life is being run by a bunch of babies, this explains why the GoJ is in such a mess. Grow up or get out
Posted by Robert Gabriel on
One could be forgiven for thinking that we were reading about characters from a TV soap rather than two of our elected representatives...sigh!
Posted by Peter Vincenti on
I am not surprised and typical as I have experienced. More to the point what state is the Economic Committee in since March with now only 2 members, that is unacceptable and should have all new members.
Posted by Keith Marsh on
There is no doubt, that POOR leadership results in POOR States Assembly
Time to go CM & lets have an election as well.
Posted by Colin Clarke on
To paraphrase Churchill…. “ democracy is the worst form of government…. Especially in Jersey “????
Posted by Guy de Faye on
I am afraid that this was an inevitable outcome from the day the States Assembly decided that it should "police" itself.
When that strategy began to look a little complex and time consuming a Commissioner was drawn into the mix to do the "heavy lifting".

The unavoidable truth is that the electorate has the final say on the behaviour of States Members at election time. Island voters conduct the equivalent of job interviews at parish hustings and then deliver their verdict, taking track records into account.

The only merit of the current procedure is that the public have been informed of what has taken place - at some considerable expense - and can form a view on the level of seriousness.
Posted by Richard Milner of leeds on
I am staggered by how childish this all is and also how pc our states members have become. It seems that one cannot compliment an individual on how they look but one can ask if they are ina relationship?
Posted by RichardMiles11 on
Following the publication of the Commissioner's reports, the Privileges and Procedures Committee must now have a quorum of independent non political lay members, preferably with legal qualifications, to determine whether such complaints are justified or verging on vexatious political standpoints, which in the past, seem to have ruled the roost.
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