A LONG-SERVING backbencher has been axed as chair of a Scrutiny panel following several hours of debate in the States.
Deputy Geoff Southern was facing a vote of no confidence as head of the Health and Social Security Scrutiny Panel brought against him from members of his panel.
The acrimonious spat was ignited following a complaint from Health Minister Karen Wilson over the behaviour of panel members Deputies Barbara Ward and Andy Howell.
Deputy Southern, as a result, asked the two Deputies to resign from the panel as he felt they had breached the code of conduct for States Members.
However, panel vice-chair Deputy Sir Philip Bailhache leapt to the defence of Deputies Ward and Howell and brought a no-confidence motion against Deputy Southern.
In the Assembly on Wednesday morning, Deputy Bailhache said that Deputy Southern had ‘grossly exaggerated the conduct of the two Deputies to justify his position’.
The Chamber was deeply divided over the issue, with a number of Members criticising the fact that they were being asked to pass judgment on a disagreement within the panel.
However, Deputy Southern was ultimately removed as chair of the Health and Social Security Scrutiny Panel by 17 votes to 15 with 14 Members opting to abstain.