Ex-deputy slams referendum law delay

LACK of referendum legislation is ‘appalling and disgraceful’ according to the former deputy who tabled the amendment to bring it in, Tony Webber.

Tony Webber

LACK of referendum legislation is ‘appalling and disgraceful’ according to the former deputy who tabled the amendment to bring it in, Tony Webber.

After the chief minister released a list of problems causing the delay in implementing legislation, Mr Webber, pictured, said there seemed to be scant reason as to why no legislation existed.

‘There is no excuse whatsoever not to have done so.

'We just have to look at legislation that already exists in Jersey and the UK and apply it here.’

One of the reasons cited in the list of problems was what sort of questions referendums should be limited to.

Comments for: "Ex-deputy slams referendum law delay"


If you have a properly elected government why should one need referendums?Just a thought!

Island Wide Voting

I agree with former Conseiller Webber !

I don't know why our law officers always feel the need to re-invent the wheel.A copy and paste from other jurisdictions with tried and tested legislation is surely all that is required in many cases

There is often a moan about cars for sale in disc parks yet Jersey has for years had a perfectly workable section in their traffic laws to cover that problem

Mind you our law officers are still tied up with all hands on deck working on the Cobo car park ownership imbroglio so we ought to give them a break


I've supported the idea of referendums on certain issues for a while. In a way they are the purest form of democracy.

There seems to be a queue of what I would call fringe issues mounting up for debate in the Assembly. Perhaps referendums could be used to determine which take priority? This could cover issues such as animal welfare, civil partnerships, Sunday trading.

The majority of decisions should be made by government (that's what we elect them for) but we also need them to focus on the serious matters of state rather than waste hours and hours debating fringe issues. Referendums could save a lot of time by giving the States a clear indication of public opinion. How much time has been wasted debating Sunday trading in recent years?


Well, as the old saying goes, you learn something new every day.

I never realised that Tony Webber used to be a politician, he kept that under his hat didn't he?


Believe it or not Phil, I remember being in shock after reading one of his GP letters that didn't mention it.


Referendums are useful only when politicians lack the courage to make necessary decisons. They are also notorious for voters deciding on the basis of views that have nothing to do with the question posed.


The same could be said of general elections though Rustylink. Do we always elect Deputies solely on their competence to govern, or do other factors influence us?

Maybe they are a friend of the family, or a fellow member of a club? Maybe we just like the look of them, or don't? etc. etc. That's the risk of democracy.

Chris Green

The Ex Deputy Tony Webber is entirely right to raise this as a concern. We do need to simply get on and implement this law to enable the use of referenda in Guernsey.

To my mind, in a representative democracy such as Guernsey, referenda can have their uses. I would prefer to see them used locally to decide major issues of constitutional concern, rather than on any general issue whatsoever. After all, we elect representatives to the States' Assembly to make decisions on general issues.

Therefore, decisions on, for example, changing the voting system or reforming our machinary of government or our relationship with the UK would all be things that should be put to the people of the Bailiwick in the future.


I'm totally with you on changing the voting system, Island Wide Voting needs to be addressed before the next election as a priority - and it should be up to the people of Guernsey to decide how we elect our Deputies.

What do you think about my suggestion that fringe issues (or at the least priorities) could be brought to referendum? It would save a lot of States debating time which I think is vital given the Assembly only meets once a month. Look how long it took to debate Sunday trading? With a referendum that debate could've been over in a couple of hours.


Forget referendums and gay marriage, the Guernsey Establishment will never let it happen. Hell would freeze over if it did!