Bid to bring back Senators to Jersey's States Assembly rejected twice in a year

Senators were removed as part of Jersey's States Assembly during the 2022 general election. Credit: ITV Channel

Politicians have rejected calls to bring back Senators as part of Jersey's States Assembly for the second time in a year.

The role - and its island-wide mandate - was abolished in 2022 on the recommendations of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association's election observers, who said having a single type of elected representative would make the island's electoral system fairer.

The Privileges and Procedures Committee had asked for both Senators and Constables to be removed from the States Assembly, but a successful amendment saw the parish leaders keep their seats in parliament.

Since Jersey's last election saw only Deputies and Constables elected, two attempts have been made to bring back Senators from 2026.

Deputy Ian Gorst's proposition was debated in January 2023 and narrowly rejected by a single vote, prompting Deputy Moz Scott to call for a second debate.

Jersey's Senators: Timeline of events so far

  • 2018: CPA election observers recommend abolishing Senators, saying Jersey's system is 'too complicated'.

  • 2019: Privileges & Procedures Committee proposes electoral reforms in line with the CPA recommendations.

  • 2020: Politicians agree to enact PPC's changes and abolish the role following a vote in the States.

  • 2021: Senators Ian Gorst & Lyndon Farnham make an attempt to save the role, but don't get enough votes.

  • 2022: Jersey's General Election takes place, with all candidates standing as Deputies or Constables.

  • 2023: Deputy Gorst calls for Senators to be brought back from the next election. His plan was rejected by a single vote.

  • Later in 2023: Deputy Moz Scott put forward a similar proposition. It too was rejected.

During the latest States debate on Wednesday 29 November, politicians repeated some of the same arguments heard during the previous debates.

Some said as Senators were elected to represent the whole island, it was a "more democratic" role than Deputies or Constables who are elected at a local level.

Others argued that outside the States Chamber, "no one cares" about the title Jersey's States Members go by.

While the original proposition did not specify how many Senatorial seats should be created, an amendment lodged by Deputy Farnham specified nine Senators should be elected in 2026. It was defeated by 15 votes to 30.

Deputy Scott's overall proposition was also rejected by 30 votes to 14 with one abstention.

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