A third of Members signed up to a party

THE Island has taken another big step into a new era of party politics, following the official launch of an alliance which features a significant number of the current Council of Ministers.

Jersey Alliance party members Mary O'Keeffe, Deputy Lindsay Ash, Deputy Rowland Huelin and Deputy Gregory Guida. Picture: JON GUEGAN. (31319660)
Jersey Alliance party members Mary O'Keeffe, Deputy Lindsay Ash, Deputy Rowland Huelin and Deputy Gregory Guida. Picture: JON GUEGAN. (31319660)

The Jersey Alliance, which was officially registered as a party in the Royal Court last week, yesterday outlined its manifesto and confirmed its ten-strong membership, which includes Chief Minister John Le Fondré.

It describes itself as a ‘diverse and inclusive centre-right party’.

Its formation means that 16 of the 48 sitting States Members – a third of the current Assembly – have nailed their colours to the mast of a political party .

The Jersey Alliance becomes the third party to register – and second in the space of six months – ahead of next year’s election. It follows the Progress Party – which is made up of Senator Steve Pallett, Deputy Steve Luce and former Infrastructure Minister Eddie Noel – and Reform Jersey, which registered in 2014 and has five current States Members – Senator Sam Mézec and Deputies Geoff Southern, Montfort Tadier, Rob Ward and Carina Alves.

The Jersey Liberal Conservatives, led by former Bailiff and External Relations Minister Sir Philip Bailhache, has registered as a ‘political movement’ and may become a fully fledged political party if it receives enough support.

The 2022 election will be the first to be contested under new voting systems, following the Assembly’s approval of widespread electoral reforms. Under the new system, the Islandwide role of Senator is to be scrapped, with the Assembly being made up of the 12 parish Constables and 37 Deputies across nine electoral districts.

On its newly launched website, the Jersey Alliance has set out some broad manifesto policies, which include ‘protecting Jersey’s uniqueness, our own language and culture’.

It continues: ‘It hopes to improve the collaboration between the Crown Dependencies but to also turn further towards our neighbours Brittany and Normandy. We want to keep the independence of the parishes and foster our unique honorary services, maintain the Bailiff as head of the States and speaker of the Chamber and promote and maintain a strong parish system and links. The Jersey Alliance believes that a carefully managed population control is vital to retain Jersey’s open spaces and quality of life.’

The Jersey Alliance also said it supported the use of ‘greener and innovative construction materials’, and that it wanted to ensure that the Island ‘continues to promote new businesses in fields such as information technology and sciences’.

Senator Mézec has welcomed the formation of the new parties, having regularly championed party politics. However, he did express concern about having so many of the current Council of Ministers attached to the Jersey Alliance.

He said that when he had been a minister, he had been forced to leave Council of Ministers meetings when a proposition brought by one of his Reform Jersey colleagues was being discussed.

During this week’s States sitting, Senator Mézec asked the Chief Minister whether the same policy would apply following the formation of the Jersey Alliance.

Senator Le Fondré said: ‘Members have made it clear that we were elected as independents. We will continue to act as independents in the run-up to the election and, after that, it is a matter for the members of that framework.’

Senator Mézec said that he was ‘staggered by that answer’.

The general election is due to be held on 22 June 2022.

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