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DISMISSED: Code of Conduct complaints thrown out

DISMISSED: Code of Conduct complaints thrown out

Thursday 22 February 2018

DISMISSED: Code of Conduct complaints thrown out


Code of Conduct complaints lodged against Deputy Barry Brehaut and Deputy Heidi Soulsby have been dismissed.

The Chair of the States Members’ Conduct Panel has issued a statement relating to the two complaints, which were lodged last week.

The complaints had focused on Tweets posted by the President of the Committee for the Environment and Infrastructure and the President of the Committee for Health and Social Care, following a protest march after the States' had voted in favour of the two-school model of secondary education.

The complaints were formally lodged with the Code of Conduct panel on Friday 16 February and both deputies confirmed to Express that evening they were aware of the action taken against them.

On Wednesday 21 February a statement was released confirming the decision to dismiss both complaints:

code.jpeg

Pictured: The statement confirming complaints against Deputy Brehaut and Deputy Soulsby have been dismissed

The complaints were lodged citing Clause 8 and Clause 9 of the Deputy's Code of Conduct, claiming both politicians had breached both clauses.

Clause 8 states that:

“Members shall at all times conduct themselves in a manner which will tend to maintain and strengthen the public’s trust and confidence in the integrity of the States of Deliberation and never undertake any action which would bring the States, or its Members generally, into disrepute.”

Clause 9 states that:

“Members shall at all times treat other Members, civil servants and members of the public with respect and courtesy and without malice, notwithstanding the disagreements on issues and policy which are a normal part of the political process.” 

Both complaints were dismissed with the Chair of the States Members' Code of Conduct Panel saying she was "not satisfied" there was any evidence either had breached the clauses. 

Speaking to Express at the time the complaints were lodged, both politicians said they were "vexatious". 

Heidi Soulsby

Pictured: Deputy Heidi Soulsby

Deputy Soulsby told Express at the time the complaints were lodged:

"This is nothing more than a vexatious attack on my integrity. That light hearted comments should have been twisted and used to attack me is a damning indictment of both social media and the current state of Guernsey politics.

"The level of personal abuse I have received on social media is beyond anything I have ever encountered before and were I to have posted any of those comments then a Code of Conduct would have been valid. I did not and I would not, as anyone who knows me would testify."

Adding to that, Deputy Heidi Soulsby has now said she is very pleased the panel has dismissed the complaint. However, she also said:

"I’ve been less bothered about me in all this but more about the negative forces on social media that drove it.   As such I want some good to come out of it and to that end will be launching a campaign to drive the negativity out."

Barry Brehaut PROPER SIZE

Pictured: Deputy Barry Brehaut 

At the time the complaints were lodged, Deputy Brehaut said: 

"I understand a member of the public has taken issue with me referring to a 'Guerilla' marketing campaign led by the former Vice President of ESC, Deputy Carl Meerveld, as unethical,  I stand by those remarks, it was unethical.

"The public must have confidence in all communications emanating from the States of Guernsey. It was simply wrong to give the impression a site potentially funded by the tax payer was a community led project, rather than a covert campaign initiated by members of ESC.

"This is a vexatious complaint that I hope the Code of Conduct panel will deal with swiftly."

When asked for a further comment, Deputy Brehaut told Express he did not wish to. 

 

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