Party splits

THE newly-formed Jersey Democratic Alliance has been rocked by an acrimonious split between its remaining senior members.

THE newly-formed Jersey Democratic Alliance has been rocked by an acrimonious split between its remaining senior members.

Founding joint vice-chairman Senator Paul Le Claire has resigned along with seven other people who were members of the 20-strong JDA council.

Their departure is a new blow to the political party following the resignations through ill-health of its original leaders, Senator Ted Vibert and the Rev Tony Keogh.

The JDA was launched in April with a high-profile Fort Regent rally and the stated aim of contesting many seats at this autumn's States elections and taking control of the first Council of Ministers.

The breakaway group resigned in protest at the actions of new chairman Deputy Geoff Southern, who won the JDA's top spot by one vote from businessman Larry Adams at a meeting two weeks ago.

And it looks certain that they will now form a new political party and make the announcement public on Thursday.

The group includes businessmen Barry Shelton - a director of Anchor Trust company which is currently appearing in the Royal Court to fight a decision by the Jersey Financial Services Commission to refuse it a licence to trade -, Tony Nightingale, inventor Roger Benest and Mr Adams, the managing director of an internet design company.

But it is the extraordinary acrimony between Deputy Southern and Senator Le Claire that will surprise many people.

Deputy Southern accuses Senator Le Claire of disloyalty.

He also said the Senator 'formed part of a clique of business interests who wished to drag the JDA into promoting populist right-wing policies'.

This is dubbed as 'untruthful spin' by the Senator.

In turn, he accuses the Deputy of thinking 'he is bigger than the JDA' and added: 'It has become the Geoff Southern party.'