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ELECTION SPECIAL: Who's standing?

ELECTION SPECIAL: Who's standing?

Thursday 13 August 2020

ELECTION SPECIAL: Who's standing?


21 of the current States Deputies, including four Committee Presidents, have told Express they intend to seek re-election when the nomination period opens next month.

We contacted all 37 Deputies asking them whether or not they plan to stand in October's island-wide election and the main reasons behind their decision.

Policy & Resources' Lead on External Affairs Jonathan Le Tocq was one of the first to respond, confirming he would seek re-election. 

"My primary reasons include the need for some continuity, to help drive momentum and investment in the Revive and Thrive initiatives," he said. "[Also because of] my existing relationships and experience, especially externally as there is much unfinished and urgent external affairs business including being right at the cusp of post-Brexit deals, at the end of this year, with the EU as well as potential new trade opportunities with the USA and commonwealth countries."

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Pictured: Deputies Jane Stephens, Lyndon Trott and Jonathan Le Tocq from Policy & Resources will put themselves forward for the island-wide election. 

Health & Social Care Committee Member Rob Prow said there is "so much unfinished business" due to the amount of "inaction" this term. 

"The challenges to our economy, employment, resolving education and transforming health are the absolute priorities for the next States, exacerbated by the fallout from Covid-19 and the consequences of Brexit, following off the impact of the UK government’s decision to leave the EU," he said.

"I have been heavily involved in all of these issues during my first term and realise the States needs to concentrate harder on delivery."

The impact of the coronavirus pandemic has weighed heavily on many deputies' minds in recent months. In the case of Employment & Social Security Vice-President Shane Langlois, it has prompted a u-turn on his original election plans. 

"I changed my mind and decided to stand for election in 2020 because what progressive gains were made this term are inevitably fragile and I want to protect them whilst acknowledging the impact of the pandemic on the States' finances," he said.

"Additionally there is a danger that major capital projects in connection with education and health might get delayed as alternative projects, simply by being labelled 'economic enablers', are prioritised."

Pictured: The election team has been out and about encouraging people to sign up to the electoral roll so they can vote in the upcoming election. 

Having only returned to the States in the 2016 election, Education, Sport & Culture Committee Member Peter Roffey said he is still "full of fire in the belly" and "definitely up for the challenges ahead."

"While I think most people agree that this Assembly has run its course and needs a reset I think that given the extraordinary situation Guernsey finds itself in some experience is needed as well as some new blood," he said.

"The challenges are going to be huge and I genuinely think that I can help to find the right solutions. I have got so fed up with the factionalism in the current Assembly that I want to champion the retention of our system of non-party political, consensus politics. If the slide into tribalism continues then we will regret it.

"I still have unfinished business in promoting social reform, championing the rights of senior citizens and protecting key public services."

Island-wide voting campaigner Carl Meerveld said the issues that prompted him to stand in 2016 remain unresolved. 

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Pictured: Several members of the Home Affairs Committee will seek re-election.

Deputy Meerveld said: "We still have a completely dysfunctional system, both within the Assembly and Civil Service, which squanders both resources and opportunities with equal abandon, and which does not listen to the public and largely fails to respond to our community’s wishes.

"My sincere hope is that this election will produce a new group of deputies who can work together to address these issues, but that will be up to the electorate."

Home Affairs President Mary Lowe will extend her tenure as the Mother of the House if she gets the public vote for an eighth political term. 

"The people will decide if they want me to continue for another term," she said. "It’s been an honour and privilege to serve the Vale and the Bailiwick - I was elected island wide in 1997 - seven terms totalling just over 26 years."

Committee Member Victoria Oliver said she wants to finish the work she has started in her first term. "I will be standing again because I feel I still have so much to give and want to get the work done," she said. 

Home Vice-President Marc Leadbeater said the States needs to make progress on reforming the justice strategy. 

"There’s obviously big ticket issues such as secondary education reform, that will no doubt play a big part during this coming term, and which we all have strong feelings about," he said.

"Justice policy and the progression of reform in this area too is something I’d like to see progressed - and please don’t think I’m referring only to cannabis - it’s far, far wider than that."

Economic Development President Charles Parkinson has a telltale sign on his Twitter page, having changed his handle to 'VoteParkinson'. 

"I do intend to stand again, because, in my 32 months or so at Economic Development, we have started to lay the foundations for a more diverse and robust economy," he told Express. "I want to bring these projects to fruition."

States Chambers

Pictured: The 21 Deputies will be among the dozens competing for 38 seats in Guernsey's government. Some of their political colleagues are still undecided on whether to stand again or not. 

Economic Development Vice-President Andrea Dudley-Owen said she had thoroughly enjoyed her first four years in the States."I'm putting myself forward again. I love the job - even the difficult bits. I've proved myself to be effective and my skills and experience are more relevant than ever for the difficult times ahead."

States' Assembly & Constitution Committee President Neil Inder, another first-time deputy, said he too has proven his effectiveness. 

"After the resignation of the previous SACC Committee, I stepped up immediately to deliver the result of the referendum; the island's first ever Island Wide General Election. That job is complete.

"We will need a straight-talking, economy and efficiency driven Assembly next term and I will be seeking re-election on that mandate."

Environment & Infrastructure Committee Member Lindsay de Sausmarez outlined some of the policies – such as climate change, energy and biodiversity – that she says need to be implemented in the coming political term.

"Having hard-working people in the next Assembly who understand these areas in detail and care deeply about them will help to ensure their success," she said. "I don’t think I would be able to look my children, or anyone else’s, in the eye and tell them I’d done everything I could for them if I weren’t prepared to step up.

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Pictured: South East Deputies Lindsay de Sausmarez and Rob Prow are hoping to achieve the backing of island-wide voters. 

"I also think that in a representative democracy it is important that the parliament reflects as much as possible the community it serves. People, especially women, at my stage of life have historically been under-represented in the States – and with so many pending issues directly affecting ‘the sandwich generation’ in particular, such as our fiscal structure, pre-school, primary and secondary education and the funding of long-term care, I would like to help ensure as many people as possible have a voice."

Policy & Resources President Gavin St Pier said it would be "untimely" for him to retire from politics given the challenges that the island faces. 

"It has been an enormous privilege and honour to serve during the last four turbulent years, which began with the unexpected result in the UK’s referendum and all the uncertainty which Brexit would bring to Guernsey; and it concluded with the Covid-19 pandemic which provided huge challenges for both the community as a whole and its leadership.

"The next four years will be challenging; but they will also be a period of tremendous opportunity. We must deliver recovery from Covid-19 at the same time as facing other major issues, such as climate change and the changes following the UK leaving the EU."

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Pictured: Deputies Peter Ferbrache and Peter Roffey took breaks from politics before standing again in 2016.

Deputy St Pier continued: "I think it would be untimely to retire from politics when the island continues to face huge challenges from both Covid-19 and the post-Brexit UK-EU agreements."

"Firstly, we must move more quickly than we have in the past; and secondly, we mustn’t miss the opportunity to make the step changes from which our community could benefit. To achieve this we will need deputies who are committed to working together in the best interests of the island and our community.”

P&R Vice-President Lyndon Trott will join his colleague on the ballot sheet: "I have much to offer, lots to do," he said. 

Guernsey needs its government to work together to consider social, economic, community and environmental issues, according to HSC Vice-President Rhian Tooley.

"The community needs Guernsey to rise from this period of global pandemic and recovery as an even better version of itself, a kinder, wiser society; careful to protect and sustain what is good but unafraid to act boldly and decisively to change where we could be better," she said

"I believe I have the experience, ability and willingness to find compromise which will be required from the deputies Guernsey elects to lead us through this period."

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Pictured: Deputies Rhian Tooley, Andrea Dudley-Owen, Carl Meerveld and Dawn Tindall joined the States for the first time in 2016. 

Development & Planning Authority President Dawn Tindall says her experiences on various committees in her first term of office had served her well. 

"Having worked diligently for four years on several committees, I have gained a depth of experience which I believe will aid future decision making, including the difficult mandate of the D&PA and a short stint on Economic Development. The contribution of both will be vital to the re-booting the economy," she said.

"There will also be a need for continuity of the experience of speedy and difficult decision making which I gained as a result of being on HSC during Covid-19."

Another 2016 debutant, States' Trading Supervisory Board Member Jeremy Smithies, wants to continue his work with the STSB. 

"The STSB has made a good start but there remain some issues still to have the rough edges smoothed," he said. "I hope, if re-elected, to be able to continue the work which began in 2016 and which I have seen through as the only continuously serving elected member of the Board."

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Pictured: Multi-term deputies Shane Langlois, Mark Dorey and David de Lisle will bid to increase their terms of office. 

STSB President Peter Ferbrache, E&I Committee Member Mark Dorey, P&R Committee Member Jane Stephens and Eco Dev Committee Member David De Lisle have also confirmed that they are intending to stand. 

Besides the current Deputies, candidates including Barry Weir, Mark Helyar, Josh Macksoni and former Environment Minister Yvonne Burford have publicly announced their intention to stand. 

"I’m aware of some really good first-time candidates who will be standing, which is fantastic – especially as they include some younger people," added Deputy Lindsay de Sausmarez.

"I am a little concerned that the expenditure limit will prove to be a disadvantage to those who don’t have a spare £6,000 to spend. Hopefully voters will be able to judge candidates on their merits and not just their advertising budgets, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see a few more millionaires on the ballot sheet than usual."

Look out for Express' follow-up story tomorrow, which will feature the deputies who have decided to step away from politics and those who have yet to decide. 

Pictured top: Deputies Gavin St Pier, Mary Lowe, Neil Inder and Charles Parkinson. 

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