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Deputy Le Tissier suspended from States

Deputy Le Tissier suspended from States

Wednesday 14 July 2021

Deputy Le Tissier suspended from States


Elected official Chris Le Tissier has been cast to the sidelines for one-year by States colleagues over his anonymous and offensive comments on social media.

After being unmasked as 'the Pirate' on Twitter, a Code of Conduct Panel recommended his expulsion from the States for breaking six sections of the guidelines governing States members' behaviour relating to honesty, transparency and upholding public confidence.

A second panel was convened following an appeal by Deputy Le Tissier, determining that his anonymous, derogatory remarks to others warranted a one-year suspension from the States, but not outright expulsion.

In a hotly-contested debate, Deputies voted in favour of suspension without pay, the first time that this punishment has been meted out. 25 voted in favour, five opposed, and nine refused to vote altogether.  

Pour: Deputies Parkinson, Prow, Queripel, Roffey, Soulsby, St Pier, Trott, Vermeulen, Brouard, Burford, Bury, Cameron, De Lisle, de Sausmarez, Dudley-Owen, Fairclough, Falla, Ferbrache, Gabriel, Gollop, Haskins, Inder, Kazantseva-Miller, Le Tocq and Leadbeater. 

Contre: Deputies Meerveld, Taylor, Dyke, Mahoney and Alderney Representative Roberts.

Abstained: Deputies Moakes, Murray, Oliver, Aldwell, Blin, Helyar, Matthews, McKenna and Alderney Representative Snowdon. 

Absent: Deputy Le Tissier. 

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Pictured: The rules defining what suspension from the States will mean for Deputy Le Tissier, who remains a suspended member of Home Affairs and the Development & Planning Authority unless he resigns from them. 

15 Deputies - including Deputy Le Tissier himself - voted to wait until the end of all other States business before debating the ex-Guernsey Party member's punishment.

This would have allowed Deputy Le Tissier - who has been suspended with immediate effect - to participate and vote on close debates on the future of abortion laws and education, which will shape the future of the Guernsey and those who live here. 

In a speech before leaving the Chamber, the suspended Home Affairs and Development & Planning Authority member argued that the "sole purpose of his tweets was to provoke robust debate" on important subjects.

He "profusely apologised" for his behaviour while also making excuses about the Code of Conduct panel's "distressful" hearing and saying its processes were "not fit-for-purpose".

He argued that what was dubbed by one colleague as 'The Impeachment of Deputy Le Tissier' had been engineered as a “political issue rather than as a tool of good governance by some deputies”.

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Pictured: One of the tweets, posted under a pseudonym, that formed the basis of conduct complaints against the former Guernsey Party member. 

He maintained that his suspension was an excessive punishment for his actions and, above all, "categorically denied" being prejudiced, misogynistic or xenophobic in relation to his comments about women and non-locals, saying that he had an English partner and British friends. 

Deputy Le Tissier vowed, upon his return, not to repeat his actions, while standing by his passion for local rights. 

"I will not stop championing the role of locals. Some perceive we are developing into a two tier society that leaves them behind. I stood for election to do something about it."

It will be at least one year before he has the opportunity to deliver on that pledge. 

Controversy over the order of debate

Deputy Tina Bury submitted a motion asking for the Code of Conduct eport to be brought forward in debate. This was to avoid the potentially farcical scenario where Deputy Le Tissier had the deciding vote on education or abortion reforms - before then being suspended from all States business for his conduct.

The motion passed, but only by a slender margin - 18 in favour, 15 against, with four abstentions and three absentees.

The Code of Conduct's report had to be delivered by the States' Assembly & Constitution Committee. Just before the vote, Sacc President Deputy Carl Meerveld claimed he did not have his speech to hand, before finding it during the vote. 

Pour: Deputies Parkinson, Roffey, Soulsby, St Pier, Trott, Brouard, Burford, Bury, Cameron, de Sausmarez, Fairclough, Falla, Ferbrache, Gabriel, Gollop, Inder, Kazantseva-Miller, Le Tocq. 

Contre: Deputies Meerveld, Moakes, Murray, Oliver, Prow, Queripel, Taylor, Vermeulen, Aldwell, Blin, De Lisle, Dudley-Owen, Dyke, Le Tissier, McKenna.

Abstained: Deputies Helyar, Leadbeater, Mahoney, Alderney Representative Snowdon.

Absent: Deputies Matthews, Haskins and Alderney Representative Roberts.

The background to the complaints against Deputy Le Tissier

The first-time deputy, elected in October 2020 as a Guernsey Party member, was first contacted by Express on 2 March following claims on social media that he was the man behind controversial tweets as 'The Pirate'.

Using the Twitter handle @Radiosutch299, the deputy told prominent historian Dr Gilly Carr to "leave Guernsey alone" because she is "non local", while also criticising Deputy Gavin St Pier with the same retort in his race against Deputy Peter Ferbrache for the top political job.

Deputy Le Tissier was also caught repeatedly commenting on States business - since his election - under the guise of a concerned member of the public "listening while working from home".

An investigation by Express into the deputy's social media behaviour unearthed links between a YouTube account 'Radio Sutch' - which was visibly Deputy Le Tissier - and the Twitter account, which most recently went under the username 'The Pirate', before it was deleted.

It led to a public admission from Deputy Le Tissier on 4 March, where he rejected suggestions that his behaviour amounted to "trolling" and instead claimed that months of social media activity amounted to an "uncharacteristic lapse of judgement".

The Home Affairs and Development & Planning Authority member was suspended from the Guernsey Party for six months and asked to self-refer to the States' conduct panel by both of his committees.

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Posted by James Swaisland on
Only a year?? You can't teach and old dog new tricks. What expectation is there that he can or will change? The man is not fit for public office. He never was and, as far as I can see, never will be.
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