This week, the States opted not to enact law changes that would have created six super-constituencies for Deputies’ elections and reduced the number of Members by one to 48, despite having previously agreed to the proposals in principle.
External Relations Minister Sir Philip Bailhache, who chaired the 2012 Electoral Commission, said a number of States Members had shown little appetite for change and until they did, reform of the Chamber would not be possible.
He added: ‘I don’t think a Royal Commission or any outside body is going to be needed or be more successful at all.
‘At the end of the day, States Members have to be persuaded to vote for reform and it doesn’t matter if you have an external body, States Members haven’t shown they want to reform.’
Earlier this year, Deputy Andrew Lewis brought forward plans to effectively honour the results of the 2013 referendum, scrap the role of Senator with an Islandwide mandate and elect 32 Deputies in six super-constituencies, alongside the 12 parish Constables.
Those plans were altered after an amendment from Economic Development Minister Lyndon Farnham was approved by the States. His amendment called for the Island’s eight Senators to be kept, and the Assembly reduced by just one seat. The 28 Deputies would have been elected in six super-constituencies.
Sir Philip, who was not present during the reform debate, as he was attending a meeting in Brussels, said: ‘I think we have taken a step backwards. The result was disappointing but sadly predictable.
‘I think the problem on this occasion was that the proposals of Deputy Lewis had been amended in such a way that it was possible for Members to argue that the reforms were not the reforms that had been put to the public.’