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Bid Made To Reinstate Senators In 2026

Ian Gorst and Lyndon Farnham have acted quickly to try and make sure this States Assembly is the only one without Senators.

On the same day as becoming a Deputy for the first time in 11 years, Ian Gorst has lodged a proposition to bring back Senators in time for the next election in 2026.

This States Assembly is the first without the role after it was eliminated as part of electoral reforms agreed upon last year.

Deputies Ian Gorst and Lyndon Farnham, who were both Senators in the last States Assembly, failed in a last-ditch attempt in April to retain them.

Despite the proposition being under Deputy Gorst's name only, he says it should be considered a joint proposal with Deputy Farnham.

The former Chief Minister says the message he received during the election campaign was that voters 'felt disenfranchised by the new electoral system.'

"Each voter has had eight votes removed from them, and therefore now have much reduced voting rights. This translated into each voter in Jersey having a smaller role in determining the future constitution of their elected Parliament.

The removal of the Senators has reduced the broad nature of popular support that it has historically been necessary for many of those holding positions of executive and parliamentary authority (within Government and Scrutiny) to enjoy. The public have felt this acutely and are dissatisfied at the new and present arrangements. The greater level of voter engagement which we were told would be delivered by the new system has not materialised.

Indeed, the public have seen the irony of being presented with a new and fairer electoral system which has taken away from them the category of States Member which was elected in the fairest way possible."

This Assembly has 37 Deputies across nine constituencies, plus the 12 Constables.

If agreed in September, the Privileges and Procedures Committee would be asked to speak to stakeholders and bring proposals forward for debate before the end of July 2023.

The legislation to change the electoral system and reinstate Senators would have to be lodged for debate before December 2023.

The reforms that saw the role of Senator scrapped were presented as a way of making the electoral system fairer and more inviting for candidates and voters.

But Deputy Gorst says the island-wide mandate is the most equitable way of electing States members and can only enhance the rights of all Jersey voters.

He adds that this proposition is not detrimental to any of the other serious work that needs addressing - which includes the cost of living and housing crises.

"The next four years needs to be defined by a States Assembly, and a Government, which listens to the public and takes action to meet their concerns.

The adoption of this proposition can set the tone and get us off to a strong start."

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