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LISTEN: Ferbrache goes cold on early election as he prepares pitch for unity

LISTEN: Ferbrache goes cold on early election as he prepares pitch for unity

Friday 08 December 2023

LISTEN: Ferbrache goes cold on early election as he prepares pitch for unity

Friday 08 December 2023


The P&R President plans to pitch for unity and collaboration with colleagues during a behind closed doors meeting being held next week, as the island’s top committee prepares for the States to finally vote on whether they should be replaced or not.

Deputies will finish considering a motion of no confidence in P&R on Wednesday after it was adjourned mid-debate in November, but the Committee has since sought to focus political minds on the challenges facing the island domestically and internationally, and the dangers of changing captains in the middle of a swell.

Deputy Peter Ferbrache told the latest Express podcast that he was sorry things have ended up as they have: “I don't think this is doing Guernsey any good at all with us kicking lumps out of each other."

He said compromise needs to be found, and joint working fostered, to quickly overcome some of these challenges and perceptions of tribalism in government over the next 18 months. 

He won’t resign, and deputies need to force him out of office if they want a wholesale change in leadership: “If I thought I wasn't the right person, I would've stepped aside six months a year ago. I just think with everything going on, it takes such a long time to learn this job to I've got to say, because it's a unique job."

P&R dropped the bombshell that it would seek an early general election to break the parliamentary deadlock after it failed to get its flagship tax and spend policy through the States for a second time.

However, Deputy Ferbrache has now admitted it was naïve to think that could be done within a few months, and now says there is no point in the public going to the polls just months before the intended election date in June 2025.

 

Listen: Express sat down with Deputy Ferbrache to discuss the next steps for the States and his Committee.

With the States set to resume debate, there’s a big pile up of other business delayed from previous meetings due to overruns and the motion of no confidence itself.

The island’s government also has to grapple with major issues on housing, financial sustainability and external threats such as the recent UK Parliament debate on beneficial ownership registry, constitutional issues, inflation, and the impending MONEYVAL inspection into financial services.

That’s why Deputy Ferbrache hopes the States can come together, no matter what happens next week.

“We’ve still got 18 months, or there abouts, of this Assembly left. We've got key issues to address, and they're stacking up,” he said.

“People quite rightly are more concerned about education, health, taxes, houses, which I understand. But the idea is to sit around with the States members, those who want to attend, and say, okay, whatever happens folks we've got to make the next 18 months as productive as possible. We've got to come up with some compromises, because it's clear on major issues that we're in a log jam.

“We as an Assembly have got to be more disciplined in the way that we deal with things because you've got to get to the end of something… there are many [examples] over the last three years, probably over the last seven or eight years, that could be cited.

He denied that the secretive meeting with other deputies next week is last ditch or desperate: “If you don't try, you can't succeed. If you do try, you might succeed. So, all I can say is that it's worth a try."

Helyar_Mahoney.jpg

Pictured: Deputies Helyar and Mahoney will depart P&R whatever the Assembly decides next week.

The P&R President confirmed that Deputies Mark Helyar and David Mahoney still intend to resign if the motion of no confidence fails, and that two prospective candidates have been approached to replace them. Although, he declined to reveal their identities. 

“They are two types of people. One is very experienced in the States, the other is not so experienced in the States, but is a very able person.,” he said.

The Assembly will jump straight back into the motion of no confidence when it meets on 13 November, with a vote expected that day. If it succeeds by a majority of votes, P&R’s membership will be forced from office and elections will take place to appoint a new committee.

If it fails, the States will need to elect two replacements to replace Deputies Helyar and Mahoney. 

Follow Express for full coverage of the States meeting next week.

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