Farnham: 'I want to be Chief Minister'
A CONTENDER for the position of Jersey’s Chief Minister has emerged while rumours circulate about the ambitions of Senator Ian Gorst’s inner circle, a number of whom may be looking to succeed him after the general election.
With Senator Gorst due to state in the coming weeks whether he intends to seek re-election and, if so, if he wishes to continue in the top job after May’s election, veteran politician Senator Lyndon Farnham has declared his intention to stand for the role, after 12 years in the States in two separate stints.
Rumours of divisions in the Council of Ministers have created speculation that a number of ministers – including Treasury Minister Alan Maclean, Home Affairs Minister Kristina Moore, Social Security Minister Susie Pinel and Environment Minister Steve Luce – might be interested in the top job.
The speculation was fuelled in particular by the publication last year of the highly critical reports on the running of the controversial Jersey Innovation Fund, which led to the political downfall of Senator Philip Ozouf – a close ally of Senator Gorst – and also the public admonishment of Senators Farnham and Maclean by the Chief Minister.
The JEP asked each of the aforementioned ministers about their plans following the election, including whether they would like to stand for Chief Minister. Only Senator Farnham confirmed that he was interested in the top job.
‘I would certainly be interested in putting my name forward for the office of Chief Minister, if I am successful in the forthcoming elections for Senator,’ he said.
‘My immediate priority, however, is to continue to focus on my current States and ministerial responsibilities. I will shortly begin planning for the elections in May and aim to produce a comprehensive manifesto to support my campaign.’
The Chief Minister is elected by a ballot of States Members following each election.
When asked whether he would be interested in the role or any other ministerial position, Senator Maclean said that it would be ‘presumptuous’ to talk about what his post-election plans were and that he had not even decided whether he was going to stand.
Deputy Pinel said: ‘I haven’t made a firm decision as to whether to stand again. This job is all-consuming, so it affects family and friends, not just the individual. Consequently, such a major decision takes time.’
Deputy Luce, who was the first politician to announce publicly his intention to stand again for office, categorically stated that he was not interested in being Chief Minister after the election.
‘I’ve been clear that, if I’m fortunate enough to be re-elected, I would seek to continue as Environment Minister,’ he said.
‘It’s not my intention to stand for the position of Chief Minister. I consider that there is a hugely important job to be done in Environment and that’s where I would seek to put my energy.’
Deputy Moore said that she was not in a position to comment on her ambitions yet and would make an announcement early next month.
Senator Farnham, who became a director of The Royal Yacht hotel in 2007, was first elected to public office as a Deputy in St Saviour No 2 district before retiring from politics in 2005.
He returned as a Senator in 2011 and was re-elected in 2014, after which he was appointed as the Economic Development Minister.
He has been heavily involved in the Island’s tourism sector and has in the past acted as president of the Hospitality Association and chairman of the Battle of Flowers committee.