Guernsey Press

Deputies vote to delay ballot

ISLANDERS will not be heading to the polls this June, nor this October, after States members agreed that community and economic healing had to take precedence amid the coronavirus pandemic.

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Screenshot from virtual states meeting. Proposer of the June 2021 election date amendment Deputy Jonathon Le Tocq. (28008736)

All States members seemed in agreement that a June 2020 election could not survive, so the question was when could the fundamental democratic right take place safely and fairly.

An amendment to the policy letter from the States’ Assembly & Constitution Committee was laid by Deputy Jonathan Le Tocq and seconded by Deputy Al Brouard on behalf of Policy & Resources.

The motion outlined that it was ‘more appropriate’ for the election to be rescheduled to 16 June 2021, and it was eventually passed with 22 members in favour to 15 against, with two abstentions.

It meant that Sacc’s proposal for a possible October general election with a ‘go or no’ decision taken in July, was thrown out as unfeasible.

Some, including president of Health & Social Care Deputy Heidi Soulsby, argued that having to decide whether an October election could go ahead would put unfair pressure on the Director of Public Health, who already had enough on her plate.

Supporting the amendment, Deputy Lindsay de Sausmarez said that without a vaccine for the virus, it would affect who would choose to stand, meaning an election this year would not be free nor fair.

Fighting for Sacc’s original proposals, committee member Deputy Jennifer Merrett questioned why this Assembly deemed themselves as the only people in the island who could lead the population through this turbulent time and said it should be up to the electorate to decide.

Leading the policy letter, Deputy Inder said he had hoped for more evidence and data from senior politicians as to why an election in October was completely off the cards, but had been disappointed.

‘I would be the first to say in July – if a report by HSC proved – that October was not a viable time for an election and look at moving it to June 2021, which this policy letter would have allowed.’

Deputy Le Tocq argued – along with several other colleagues – that delaying a general election once was disappointing enough, let alone twice.

How they voted: ON whether to replace SACC's proposals with the proposals outlined in the Le Tocq/Brouard amendment.

For: Deputies Heidi Soulsby, Lindsay de Sausmarez, Peter Roffey, Peter Ferbrache, Dawn Tindall, Barry Brehaut, Rhian Tooley, Charles Parkinson, Lester Queripel, Michelle Le Clerc, Joseph Mooney, Lyndon Trott, Gavin St Pier, Jane Stephens, Matt Fallaize, Sarah Hansmann-Rouxel, Richard Graham, Mark Dorey, Jonathan Le Tocq, Al Brouard, David De Lisle and Shane Langlois. 22

Against: Deputies Robert Prow, Victoria Oliver, John Gollop, Marc Leadbeater, Paul Le Pelley, Jennifer Merrett, Carl Meerveld, Neil Inder, Mary Lowe, Laurie Queripel, Jeremy Smithies, Chris Green, Barry Paint, Andrea Dudley-Owen and Emilie McSwiggan. 15

Abstain: Alderney representatives Alex Snowdon and Steve Roberts. 2