Deputy could be suspended for breach of States code

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A DEPUTY who was found to have lied to the States Assembly could be suspended after being found to have breached the Code of Conduct for elected Members.

St Helier Deputy Andrew Lewis appeared before a public hearing of the Privileges and Procedures Committee this week after the Independent Jersey Care Inquiry's report concluded that he lied to the States, as well as the panel itself, about the suspension of former-police chief Graham Power in 2008.

Yesterday, PPC announced they had found that Deputy Lewis had breached the States Code of Conduct. The committee's announcement comes after Deputy Lewis 'unequivocally' apologised to Members who felt misled by his comments following Tuesday's PPC hearing.

The committee is expected to publish a public report within the next few weeks recommending to the States Assembly what course of action should be taken.

This could include suspending Deputy Lewis from the Assembly, calling a vote of no confidence in his role as chairman of the Public Accounts Committee, a vote of censure or, more leniently, a public statement being made against him.

It is not possible for Deputy Lewis to be fined or have pay docked for his actions. Deputy Lewis will have the right to appeal the decision to the States Assembly but not to PPC.

Deputy Lewis was found by the inquiry to have falsely claimed during a States sitting that he saw a Metropolitan Police report justifying Mr Power's suspension, which he ordered while he was Home Affairs Minister. He had in fact only seen extracts of the report in a letter from acting police chief David Warcup.

Deputy Lewis maintains that he did not lie and merely used poor wording, but during the PPC hearing on Tuesday he admitted that some Members may have been 'mistakenly misled' by his remarks.

A PPC statement says: 'The committee intends publishing a full explanation of its reasons for reaching this conclusion, indicating the action it will be recommending to the Assembly.


'However, we realise that Deputy Lewis needed to be advised of its decision at the earliest opportunity, especially given the public interest in this matter, and he has been informed of the committee's finding earlier today.'

PPC says that it will not be issuing any further comment on the matter until its report is published.

Deputy Lewis' apology statement says: 'While I had no intention to mislead the States on 2 December 2008, I unequivocally apologise to any elected members who felt misled during the in-camera debate, and I have since endeavoured to clarify the record.

'My actions in 2008 were based entirely upon evidence placed before me. I acted with integrity and impartiality remaining within the remit of the disciplinary code and the rule of law. I exercised my judgment as a minister after taking full and proper legal and HR advice from officers and with the full support of the then Chief Minster and the Council of Ministers.'

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