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‘If he doesn’t resign from PAC, then I will’

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CONSTABLE Chris Taylor will resign from his position on the committee which scrutinises public spending if Deputy Andrew Lewis refuses to stand down as chairman.

Deputy Andrew Lewis was found by the Independent Jersey Care Inquiry to have ?lied? that he saw a Metropolitan Police report justifying the suspension of then police chief Graham Power during a 2008 States sitting when he was Home Affairs Minister. He had in fact only seen extracts of the report in a letter from acting police chief David Warcup.

The Privileges and Procedures Committee, which oversees States Members? conduct, has now lodged a vote of censure ? effectively a motion to publicly admonish a Member ? against Deputy Lewis. The St Helier Deputy has consistently denied any accusations that he lied.

And St John Constable Chris Taylor has said that if the vote of censure is successful then Deputy Lewis should offer his resignation from the Public Accounts Committee.

Mr Taylor ? a member of both PPC and PAC ? has said that if States Members back the censure motion, he would find it ?virtually impossible? to work with Deputy Lewis on the PAC having been one of the proposers to bring the vote of censure.

He said: ?It is up to the Assembly to decide on the vote of censure. If the vote of censure succeeds ? and my reading of the situation is that it probably will ? then I would expect Andrew to stand up and make a personal statement resigning from PAC.

?I can?t speak for anyone else on the PAC but as someone who sits on PPC it would be virtually impossible for me to continue on both panels should the vote of censure in Deputy Lewis be successful.

?If the vote of censure motion is successful then the ball is in his court but if he doesn?t resign from PAC then I will.?

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Meanwhile, Mr Power said that the views of politicians ?cannot change the fact? that Deputy Lewis has been found to have lied to the inquiry and States Members.

He said: ?In subsequent debates the States as a whole appeared to decide that they accepted the findings of the Inquiry.

?In my view, and I am sure that it is the view of many others, any attempt to come to a different conclusion from the Inquiry would need to be supported by substantial evidence and no evidence of that kind has been produced. The verdict of the Inquiry was that Deputy Lewis lied to the States and he lied on oath.?

He added: ?It is also not without relevance that some of the politicians and former politicians who are reported to have expressed support for Deputy Lewis have a long history of holding positions of power in the Island.

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?They were in power when, according to the Inquiry, vulnerable children were subjected to ?cruel and degrading punishments,? at a time when there was ?no political interest in standards of care,? and when there was ?inadequate political oversight.?

?And it was also found that children remained at risk up to the present time. Those who were in authority at that time are not well placed to determine how Jersey should move forward or to influence the standards which should be expected from those in public office.?

The vote of censure motion is due to be debated on Tuesday 12 September.

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