The Progress Party was established in the Royal Court on 29 January. It has three founding members – acting party leader Senator Steve Pallett, secretary Deputy Steve Luce, who has now been appointed party whip, and former Infrastructure Minister Eddie Noel as treasurer.
There is only one other political party in the Island – Reform Jersey, led by Senator Sam Mézec.
Senator Pallett said that the new party wanted to form its polices gradually in collaboration with new members, with announcements to be made in the coming months. A manifesto would be launched a couple of months before next year’s general election, he said.
Senator Pallett added: ‘I’ve been clear from the start that we really want many of the ideas and policies to be formed in discussion with, and collaboratively with, our members. So that’s the way we’re going to go.
‘We have talked to some States Members – some have shown some interest in joining and some clearly are not interested. But we’ve got to be very careful who we engage with politically.’
The Senator explained that as the party shaped its policies and manifesto, the whip system would be used to ensure that party members followed the policy platform on which they were elected.
‘Certainly as the party policy grows, and hopefully the numbers grow in the States Assembly, there needs to be a mechanism to ensure that when it comes to our manifesto that it’s followed by party members and to discipline members that don’t stick to the party principles,’ he said.
‘It provides a structure and I think it’s important that we have that.
‘Anybody joining the party will know that. Whether they’re a States Member now or whether they are a candidate – they will be aware of the rules.
‘If they’re elected it would have been because the public would have voted for them on the back of that manifesto. When there are ethical or moral issues and people feel that they can’t follow the party, there would be some discretion.
‘We would listen to any argument given by any candidate or States Member if they felt were unable to support something. But I think on big pieces of policy, such as immigration or housing issues, it’s important that we don’t have members who go rogue.’
Senator Pallett said around 100 people had joined the Progress Party since it had been established.
‘Considering we haven’t really pushed very hard so far that’s really good. People have come to us and I expect to get more people in the coming months. We’ve had some very experienced, intelligent well-informed people come to us wanting to help,’ he said.
He added that he expected other political parties to form soon that but no other individuals had made their plans clear at this stage.