Expelling deputy from States is a step too far

OVER the years the Code of Conduct Panel has gained a reputation as a toothless tiger, useful only for giving the States the veneer of accountability.

Yesterday, it sank some sizeable fangs into Deputy Chris Le Tissier.

The panel had a choice of five penalties, ranging from a caution to expulsion from the States.

That it is recommending the ultimate sanction will have jaws dropping across the political spectrum.

It may even have a few deputies scrabbling to delete their own anonymous accounts on Twitter, Facebook and other social media outlets.

If so, the panel will have done the island a favour. Cowardly, xenophobic trolling of the type indulged in by Deputy Le Tissier is offensive and inexcusable. It undermines the reputation of the States and flies in the face of the transparent democracy we all want to be part of.

After a somewhat belated and begrudging apology Deputy Le Tissier must now see the error of his ways. By practising such deceit he has let down himself, The Guernsey Party and all the island’s electorate.

The Guernsey Party was right initially to suspend him for six months. Given the severity of the Code of Conduct Panel’s criticism they should consider extending that period or expelling him from the party.

However, expulsion from the States Assembly itself seems both highly unlikely and a step too far.

Unlikely because Deputy Le Tissier is part of the majority group in the Chamber, and consistently votes with that majority. His face fits.

Unlikely also because some deputies will naturally consider the risk of setting the bar for expulsion at this level. What if they were the next to feel the teeth of the tiger?

A step too far because, while Deputy Le Tissier’s deception was unacceptable, it was not criminal and was a first offence by a new deputy.

The public debate in the States Assembly that will follow Sacc’s policy letter on the matter will be excruciating for Deputy Le Tissier. His reputation will be permanently damaged in many minds.

That should be punishment enough.

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