Chief Minister faces questions from Jersey politicians on finance minister U-turn

  • Deputy Philip Ozouf spoke to ITV News outside Jersey's States building on Tuesday morning

Jersey politicians have put questions to the island's Chief Minister after she took away Deputy Philip Ozouf's political responsibility for the financial services industry just days after supporting him to continue in the role.

Last night, Deputy Kristina Moore told ITV Channel she had "changed her mind" about Deputy Ozouf's involvement after he had been summoned to appear in the island's Petty Debts court three times in three months over unpaid bills.

She said: "I have changed my mind, but that is something that we all do after a moment of reflection.

"At the beginning of my term, I said that I wouldn't always get things right but what I would always do is act in what I see to be the best interest of the island."

Deputy Ozouf says it was always the plan for responsibility for the financial services portfolio to be transferred elsewhere, but only last month Deputy Moore wrote to him confirming he was to remain in charge indefinitely.

While the financial services portfolio will now be shared among four ministers, Deputy Ozouf remains a member of Jersey's government as External Relations Minister.

  • Deputy Moore told ITV News "further discussions" on Deputy Ozouf's role in government would happen if he continues to fall short of expected standards

Ahead of Tuesday's meeting of the island's parliament, the States Assembly, Deputy Ozouf spoke to ITV News outside the States building. He said:

"I think trust in government is important, and I maintain the confidence that I have in the Chief Minister in discharging public duties first.

"My first duty is to serve the people of the island, the people of St Saviour who elected me, I've been asked to do a job and I will discharge that job.

"The Chief Minister's initial decision to appoint me as External Relations Minister is the one she's following through on, and I completely support that."

During the States sitting, politicians put their own questions to Deputy Moore aiming to clear up confusion arising from the so-called "shambles" surrounding Deputy Ozouf's role.

Deputy Sam Mézec asked the Chief Minister "what had changed" in the last week which led to her U-turning on her decision to keep Deputy Ozouf as the political lead for the island's finance industry.

Deputy Moore says she has "always felt" politicians are expected to adhere to the Nolan Principles of Public Life - which set out how officials should behave in public office - so in effect, "nothing had changed".

She added that it is important that ministers are held accountable for their actions:

"On reflection, it was my decision at the end of last week that I had perhaps not focused entirely on the appropriateness of Deputy Ozouf remaining with his portfolio for financial services.

"That conversation started over a cup of tea with the Deputy Chief Minister when we were talking about the Good Business Charter and I am a great fan of the Good Business Charter. One of their key points is that when doing business, one should pay one's bills quickly - that set a train of thought running."

Deputy Kristina Moore faced questions from politicians in the States Chamber.

Deputy Moore said the move was just a "minor reshuffle" and re-iterated the island has a "very capable" Council of Ministers at the helm.

She also confirmed that of the four ministers now responsible for the financial services industry, she has overall legal responsibility for decisions made.

After the reshuffle, Deputy Rob Ward asked Deputy Moore to clarify the government's position on referring to Assistant Ministers as "Ministers" - something which had previously been called "misleading and confusing" and had been criticised by the Privileges and Procedures Committee for disregarding the official process.

Following the 15 minutes of questions to the Chief Minister, it seems some politicians feel there are further questions surrounding Deputy Ozouf's changing role which remain unanswered:

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