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CM challenger misses out on chance at top job by minutes

CM challenger misses out on chance at top job by minutes

Thursday 18 January 2024

CM challenger misses out on chance at top job by minutes

Thursday 18 January 2024


The politician who initiated the successful vote of no confidence against the Chief Minister missed out on the chance to stand for the top political job himself by mere minutes – after miscounting the number of signatories he had secured.

After ousting Chief Minister Kristina Moore in a successful vote of no confidence, Deputy Tom Binet thought he had failed to secure the required minimum of six signatories to stand to replace her by last night's deadline.

Deputy Binet later confirmed that he had in fact received enough support, but had miscounted his signatories and missed the 17:00 deadline by four minutes.

Speaking to Express last night, he explained: "I had no sleep for two nights running either side of Tuesday's debate – it was a pressurised day, and by Wednesday I wasn't thinking straight.

"On Wednesday morning I was seeking the signatures to support my nomination and needed to prepare my vision statement, which was due by 17:00, but the Assembly was also sitting.

"Some other Members didn't take part in the opening proposition, about trees, but it's something I feel strongly about, so I was in the Chamber and spoke during the debate.

"I then went home at lunchtime and started to write my vision statement, while at the same time getting the signatures together.

"I was waiting for two people to confirm, and thought I was one short.

"I contacted those who had supported me and someone came back and pointed out that I had enough signatures, and that my paper was in order – I emailed the Greffe, but was four minutes past the deadline, and was told there was nothing that could be done."

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Pictured: Deputy Tom Binet leaving the States Chamber on Tuesday night following the successful vote of no confidence.

The Members whose names would have been on Deputy Binet's form were his sister, Deputy Rose Binet, and fellow Deputies Andy Howell, Mary Le Hegarat, Moz Scott and Barbara Ward, plus Constable Mike Jackson.

Deputy Binet said there were a range of feelings and emotions in the wake of his failure to enter the race.

"I made a mess of it and I'm very frustrated – after receiving so much support from people recently, especially this week, I feel I have let them down and want to apologise," he said.

"It will take me a long time to get over this, but I'm not complaining – it was my own stupidity and I'm happy to live with the consequences.

"If I'd had any sleep I might have been thinking more clearly and would have left the [tree] debate, but I didn't do that, which was a mistake."

But the former Infrastructure Minister was also able to find some black humour in what had happened.

"If you can't count to six then it's probably fair to say that you shouldn't be putting your name forward for Chief Minister," he joked.

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Pictured: Kristina Moore became Jersey's first Chief Minister to be ousted from the island's top political job on Tuesday night.

Deputy Binet previously said he intended to stand for the top job in island politics if his no-confidence motion was successful.

The former Infrastructure Minister reiterated his intention to stand for the vacant role of Chief Minister yesterday morning, although he continued to play down the prospects that he would eventually be elected.

"The way the Assembly works, all those votes against me [with 22 Members having voted contre in yesterday's debate] is that there are a large number of people coalescing around Deputy [Ian] Gorst and I imagine he'll already have all the signatures he needs," Deputy Binet said.

"It's a long shot for me, but I've had a humbling amount of support and I owe it to those who've backed me."

Yesterday morning, Deputy Binet said he was unable to say for certain whether he would be seeking to return to a ministerial role if he failed to be elected as Chief Minister.

"I've no idea – that would be something to consider at the next stage, if we get to that point," he said. 

A reminder: who is still in the running?

Deputy Ian Gorst

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Pictured: Deputy Ian Gorst, a previous Chief Minister, confirmed after this morning's States Assembly meeting that he would put himself forward.

Favourite of ousted Chief Minister Kristina Moore – and, if bets were still being taken, the one a large chunk of Jersey politics enthusiasts would be putting their money on – is Ian Gorst.

A true 'unity candidate', Deputy Gorst has the 'safe pair of hands' factor, having previously worked in the top job, and even surviving a vote of no confidence in 2017 so will be able to argue, convincingly, that he can steady the ship through the choppy waters Jersey finds itself in.

First elected as a Deputy of St Clement and sworn to office in December 2005, he now serves as a Deputy of St Mary, St Ouen and St Peter. However, he has also held the title of Senator and is the current Treasury Minister and Assistant Minister for External Relations and Financial Services.

The latter remit also saw him heavily involved in the political back-and-forth between Jersey and France at the height of the fishing dispute. As Treasury Minister, he also delivered the 'mini budget' aimed at helping islanders through the cost-of-living crisis, and has been working on preparing the island for the MONEYVAL assessment which chart the course for the future success of the island's finance industry.

He voted to keep Deputy Moore in the top job, yesterday arguing that the situation "cannot be a good thing for our island’s political stability" – loyalty that she returned by confirming she would support him, even before he officially threw his hat in the ring, this morning.

"I have been gathering signatories throughout the day," he told Express outside the States Chamber this afternoon. "I am in the process of compiling my vision statement which will be published by the States Greffier later today."

Deputy Sam Mézec

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Pictured: Deputy Sam Mézec, whose political party played a key role in the no confidence vote, has confirmed he will seek the top job.

The leader of Reform Jersey, Deputy Sam Mézec, has confirmed his intention to seek Deputy Moore's now up-for-grabs role as the head of Jersey's government.

His political party held a position of influence within yesterday's vote, something that Deputy Mézec made clear in the run-up to the debate - with the ten-strong group ultimately deciding to back the no-confidence motion put forward by former Infrastructure Minister Tom Binet.

Perhaps most well-known for his scrutiny of those in charge, it is worth noting that Deputy Mézec is no stranger to ministerial remits.

Under the previous government he once held the role of Children's Minister and later took on responsibility for Housing, when then-Chief Minister John Le Fondré decided to combine the portfolios - although he resigned from the position to back a no confidence motion directed at Deputy Le Fondré...sound familiar?

Anyway, Deputy Mézec - who was first elected to the States as a Deputy of St. Helier in 2014 and has also served as a Senator - confirmed to Express this morning that he is in the running for the top job.

You can read about his party's "New Deal" manifesto here.

Deputy Lyndon Farnham

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Pictured: Deputy Lyndon Farnham, who has confirmed he will seek the Chief Minister role, said he "would like to start with a clean sheet"

Once the politician who oversaw the ongoing project to build Jersey's new hospital, Deputy Farnham found himself in an interesting position yesterday - having previously levelled criticism at Deputy Binet's plans for healthcare facilities, while also having been on the receiving end of scrutiny from Deputy Moore when he was at the helm of the Overdale 'Our Hospital' project.

Also a former senator, he was first elected as Deputy of St Saviour No. 2 and sworn to office on 9th December 1999, making him one of the most experienced States Members on this list.

Under the previous government he was Economic Development Minister, the title currently held by Deputy Moore's Deputy Chief Minister, Kirsten Morel.

In an email to States Members today seen by Express, Deputy Farnham - now a Deputy for St Mary, St Ouen and St Peter - wrote: "Given the result of yesterday, I wanted to let members know that I have decided to allow my name to go forward into the contest for Chief Minister and that I have sufficient signatures to confirm my candidacy.

"As I said yesterday, I would like to start with a clean sheet and bring together a new team to work to heal the problems that we have faced. We do have only a little over two years to achieve this and I believe my political experience will be an important factor in achieving that objective.

"Should any members wish to discuss this with me, or any other issue please do not hesitate to let me know."

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