Client Weekly Update – Friday 24 June

Election update

The Council of Ministers will have a very different look when the States Assembly reconvenes following a dramatic election on Wednesday. Voters across the Island this week delivered a damning indictment on the last four years as the Council of Ministers was decimated. The only ministers from the past four years who retained their seats were Senators Ian Gorst and Lyndon Farnham and Deputies Carolyn Labey and Kevin Lewis

Senator John Le Fondré became the first Chief Minister to lose his seat in the States following a dramatic election night which saw voters deliver a damning verdict on the past four years of government. The veteran politician was among a series of Jersey Alliance candidates who failed to secure a seat as the fledgling party suffered blow after blow at the polls. However as Alliance licked their wounds at their base at The Royal Yacht hotel, there were jubilant scenes at Reform Jersey’s headquarters at the Royal Hotel in David Place, after the party doubled its number of elected members. Ten of its 14 candidates secured a seat, mainly after a series of triumphs in its heartland of St Helier.

A total of 11 sitting Members – including fellow Alliance candidates Assistant Treasury Minister Lindsay Ash, Home Affairs Minister Gregory Guida and Assistant Chief Minister Rowland Huelin – also crashed out of the Assembly. The catalogue of defeats – which saw party leader and proposed Chief Minister candidate Sir Mark Boleat finish a distant last in St Clement – now leaves the future of the party in tatters.

Trinity Constable Philip Le Sueur, who was elected unopposed but faced a strong challenge from ‘none of the above’, which received a third of the votes in the parish, is left as the only Alliance member in the States. The party had started the night with 14 candidates. Speaking after the votes were announced, Senator Le Fondré said: ‘I’m disappointed but congratulations to the successful candidates. ‘There were lots of people who were positive and some who weren’t but clearly those who were positive didn’t turn out.

‘I am proud of what we did during the pandemic. We did save lives and we did leave the economy in a good state and reserves are higher than ever before and we did a whole range of things which have never been done before. But obviously people think it is time for a change and we respect that.’  With four ministers opting not to seek re-election and a further four – most dramatically Chief Minister John Le Fondré – crashing out of the States, two-thirds of the ministerial team will not be returning to the Chamber. Add to that a number of assistant ministers who also lost their seats and there is a strong chance that some political newcomers will step up to fill senior roles.

Speaking as it emerged that his party would wield significant power in the new Assembly, leader Sam Mézec said: ‘I’m extremely proud that Reform Jersey has made such impressive gains. It shows that the number of people in Jersey have confidence in the party and it’s a chance for Jersey to change how politics is done. Hopefully it’s symbolic of a change.’

The 2022 election has seen more women elected to Jersey’s government than ever before.

A total of 51% of the newly-elected deputies are women, and women now make up 43% of the overall government. Carina Alves, Inna Gardiner, Carolyn Labey, Helen Miles and Kristina Moore topped their constituency polls. Ms Moore, who said she would put herself forward for chief minister, said the increased representation of women in the States was welcomedand ‘Beatriz Poree of the Reform party became the islands first female black states member’.

There are some fantastic female candidates who haven’t at all campaigned simply because they were women but because they were able people who had a vision that they shared with islanders and have seen that and got behind them with some really fantastic support,” she said.

Islanders voted in 21 women, 19 deputies and two constables, and 28 men.

Lucy Stephenson, a newcomer and Independent candidate, said she hoped she and other elected women would help shape Jersey’s future. She said: “It’s really amazing, quite honestly, to see so many strong women elected to our next states assembly. I think it’s a real victory for diversity and hopefully it means really positive things for the future as well… I’m really positive that this heralds the start of a new type of collaborative politics, where we can all work together to try and solve some of the big issues.”

Ahead of the election, four candidates had touted themselves as potential Chief Ministers – but Jersey Alliance leader Sir Mark Boleat failed to secure a seat. That leaves Reform Jersey leader Senator Sam Mézec, Jersey Liberal Conservatives leader Sir Philip Bailhache, who is heading up his party’s coalition with the Progress Party, and Senator Kristina Moore as the declared candidates to battle it out for the Assembly’s top job, although others may yet throw their hats into the ring.

The early favourite appears to be Deputy-elect Moore who a number of the successful candidates suggested for Chief Minister when asked by the JEP ahead of the election. If she is successful in her bid, she would become the first female to hold the role. Fresh off the back of topping the poll in the hotly contested district of St Ouen, St Peter and St Mary, Deputy-elect Moore said: ‘I am really heartened that I openly committed to that intention as part of my campaign

Deputy-elect Mézec was a little more apprehensive about confirming whether he would be a Chief-Minister candidate, saying that he would discuss with fellow Reform Jersey members ‘what role we can play in the next government’. He added that he would be willing to work with Deputy-elect Moore if she was successful but that it would ‘have to be on an understanding of our manifesto and our aspirations’. And sitting Economic Development Minister Lyndon Farnham may want to extend his time in that job to a third term. Senator Farnham also expressed an interest in the Chief Minister’s job in 2018 and has not ruled out running for it again.

External Relations Minister Ian Gorst said prior to the election that he wanted to stay in his role while former Environment Minister Deputy Steve Luce refused to rule out returning to the position he held between 2014 and 2018 but said that the ‘first thing to do is find out who will be Chief Minister’. He added: ‘If I find myself being asked to do a job with a Chief Minister I can work with, I’d be delighted to be offered something.

Covid Spike

A “further wave” of Covid-19 has begun in Jersey, the government has warned

It said there had been a “sustained rise in cases” and that more than 940 people had the virus, according to statistics released on yesterday. A spokesperson warned Covid-19 “does still remain a threat to the most vulnerable and unvaccinated”. They said there were no plans to change any public health measures or guidance and urged people to isolate and get a PCR test if they experienced symptoms. The spokesperson said: “The latest data has shown a sustained rise in cases and indicates that we are now at the beginning of a further wave. “They said: “It is known that the effects of the vaccines wane over time, which means those that do not keep up with their vaccine schedule are not best protected. “As a significant portion of Islanders have not been eligible for the Spring Booster, and immunity from previous infections doesn’t guarantee protection against new variants, it is vital that everyone keeps doing the right thing to keep each other safe.”

Deputy Medical Officer of Health, Dr Ivan Muscat, has issued the following statement:

“In the past 10 days, we have seen a sustained and significant rise in cases of COVID-19 on-Island which is mirrored in the UK. As in the UK, this increase in prevalence of the virus in Jersey is likely to be due to the emergence of the BA.4 and BA.5 variants of Omicron. The situation remains under review by the Public Health Team.”

“I encourage Islanders to keep doing the right thing by continuing to follow public health guidance, which includes doing regular Lateral Flow Tests (LFT), particularly before visiting vulnerable individuals or high risk settings such as the hospital and care homes. Islanders are also reminded to continue to wear a mask when inside the hospital and other healthcare settings.”

Islanders continue to be encouraged to:

  • keep up to date with vaccination
  • improve ventilation by opening windows
  • isolate if symptomatic and get a PCR test
  • use a lateral flow test twice a week or before visiting vulnerable people
  • wash and sanitise hands regularly

We hope all of our clients are enjoying the new Newsletter format.

Mixed Markets

London’s FTSE 100 is up 0.95%.

European markets are broadly higher today with shares in France leading the region. The CAC 40 is up 1.22% and Germany’s DAX is up 0.63%.

Last night, the S&P 500 advanced 1%, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average added 195 points, or roughly 0.6%. The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite jumped 1.6%.

Asian markets finished broadly higher today with shares in Hong Kong leading the region. The Hang Seng is up 1.95% while Japan’s Nikkei 225 is up 1.23% and China’s Shanghai Composite is up 0.89%.

BA workers to strike in summer holidays

As the tourism sector battles to recover from the COVID pandemic, British Airways (BA) employees at Heathrow have opted to strike during the school summer holidays.

The threat of industrial action over wages was widely endorsed by members of the GMB and Unite unions, with 95% of voters at both unions supporting strikes on participation rates of 81 and 63%, respectively.

At the height of the summer travel season, more than 700 BA check-in personnel and ground-handling agents might strike.

No strike dates have been set because, according to the unions, they wanted to give the airline some time to reconsider the crucial issue.

The unions are attempting to undo a salary decrease of 10% that was enacted for employees during the pandemic when worldwide lockdowns grounded planes.

Additionally, BA terminated almost 13,000 positions.

Triple blow for Boris Johnson

As a result of the Tories losing two by-elections, Oliver Dowden, the chairman of the Conservative Party, resigned, doing triple damage to Boris Johnson.

As the Liberal Democrats won, the Conservatives saw their majority of 24,000, or 40.6 percent, in the Devon district of Tiverton and Honiton disappear, a record defeat for the party.

Labour won in Wakefield, the West Yorkshire district known as the “red wall” that the Conservatives grabbed over in 2019.

Oliver Dowden, the chairman of the Conservative Party, resigned after the by-election results, writing in a letter to the prime minister that “We cannot carry on with business as usual.”

While acknowledging Mr. Dowden’s “service,” Mr. Johnson replied that the administration had had a “historic mandate” from the general election and he intended to keep working “to unite and level up” the nation. He added that he understood Mr. Dowden’s “disappointment.”