Political party seeks funding and greater public support

THE leader of Guernsey’s only true political party in the new States has given an indication of how his party will develop now the election is over.

Deputy Mark Helyar – leader of The Guernsey Party. (28845285)
Deputy Mark Helyar – leader of The Guernsey Party. (28845285)

The Guernsey Party had a successful campaign and managed to get six out of eight new candidates into the top 38.

Leader Mark Helyar, who was the highest placed newcomer in fourth position, said currently they were discussing how to progress the party as a permanent organisation.

‘We envisage that the constitution will be amended to allow for two tiers of membership so that more members of the public can join us and take part in conversations about policy and local issues.

‘We will also seek funding from members and supporters to enable the party to be able to provide administrative and other types of support and training to our deputies, and to help with policy research.

‘We would also like to hold regular parish meetings so that parish issues aren’t drowned out by the effects of island-wide voting.

‘Other members of the House will be welcome to attend such meetings if they wish.

‘We will publish our accounts and list donors in the interests of transparency.’

The Guernsey Party has no whip, which means members can vote in the Assembly as they wish, but there is an emphasis on trying to reach a consensus view.

Deputy Helyar said he anticipates that they will cooperate as a team and go through the States Billets and work on policy together.

‘It saves time if members with particular areas of expertise, for example, can do research and report on it.

‘If we have a collective view from the outset then one may speak on behalf of all, but people’s minds, of course, may change during the course of a debate.

‘The important thing is that we can debate and disagree without losing the commitment to work together.’

The Guernsey Partnership of Independents is also assessing its future after it managed to get 10 of its 21 candidates into the States.

The group always insisted it was not a proper party and it had no common manifesto, although members had to pledge allegiance to five key principles.

Leader Deputy Gavin St Pier explained their next steps.

‘The members of the Guernsey Partnership of Independents will meet shortly to review the conduct of the campaign and outcome of the general election.

‘That will present an opportunity to consider the role and future of the partnership following the formation of the new government.’

Deputy Carl Meerveld stood as an independent in the election, and in a David versus Goliath contest, he is now in charge of the body that regulates the Assembly – the States' Assembly & Constitution Committee.

He is watching with keen interest how the new system will play out, and hopes it will lead to more transparency and accountability.

‘I absolutely think the parties are a good idea because it will hopefully develop a more consistent approach to policies. They can group together, they can work on initiatives they’re interested in, they can bring it back to the States with a level of support already embedded in it, and hopefully that will help us move away from the flip-flop government we’ve had in the past.’

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