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Jersey puts time limit on States members’ speeches

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JERSEY States members have voted to shorten the amount of time they have to make speeches – something that deputies here continue to oppose.

Jersey deputy Russell Labey said that some States debates there 'outlive their usefulness'. (26361648)

A time limit of 15 minutes will be imposed.

In Guernsey there are no time limits, with members having to resort to guillotine motions if they believe a debate has run its course, or rely on the presiding officer to crack down by invoking rules that should prevent ‘tedious repetition’ or members straying off subject.

Deputy Chris Green does not support a time limit, but believes members should show more self-discipline.

‘The solution is in members’ hands already,’ he said.

‘We don’t have to speak on everything. We don’t have to repeat points already made. Lengthy speeches aren’t needed on most items and in any event aren’t that helpful to debate. And we don’t need to debate things that are agreed.’

Deputy Emilie McSwiggan has suggested a time limit rule that works something like the guillotine rule, so it could be invoked by members when discipline is needed, but is not the de facto rule.

Deputy John Gollop is a supporter of time limits, at least before the next general election.

‘We can’t go on like this with OTT agendas,’ he said.

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Jersey’s Privileges and Procedures Committee chairman Deputy Russell Labey said that some debates in the Assembly ‘outlive their usefulness’.

‘There have been some debates where members have been in the coffee room with their ears bleeding saying when will this end? This is a tool to prevent this torture from happening.’

Proposers and primary responders in debates would not have their time limited.

Under the proposals, which still need to be finalised, the States speaker would have the ability to allow longer speeches or apply a shorter timeframe if necessary.

Nick Mann

By Nick Mann

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