Former Senator accuses two politicians of breaching code during energy adviser's visit

Chair of PPC Karen Shenton. Picture: DAVID FERGUSON. (37644349)

FORMER Senator Ted Vibert has lodged a complaint with the commissioner for standards about the conduct of two States Members during a visit last month from an energy adviser.

Dr John Constable, who is associated with a UK organisation that challenges the mainstream response to climate change, was invited by the Jersey Climate Group to address politicians in a room in the States building.

The move was heavily criticised on social media, and the venue had to be switched at short notice to St Paul’s Centre when Privileges and Procedures Committee chair, Constable Karen Shenton-Stone, intervened.

She wrote to States Members to say that no such presentations could be hosted until the PPC had considered policy guidelines governing external groups’ use of the facilities.

Mr Vibert claims that Mrs Shenton-Stone, as well as fellow politician Deputy Catherine Curtis – who claimed that the presentation was “akin to States Members receiving a briefing from anti-vaxxers or Covid deniers” – both broke the States Members’ code of conduct, and is calling for them to be censured by the Assembly.

Dr Constable had been due to give a presentation to States Members on whether “wind farms or solar power could sustain a modern economy”. The event had been arranged in consultation with the Greffier of the States, Lisa Hart.

The venue was changed the day before the talk, and only six politicians attended the rescheduled event. Around 120 people attended a public event at the Town Hall the night before.

Mr Vibert claims that Mrs Shenton-Stone’s intervention had been influenced by “nothing else but tittle-tattle on social media”, and he described Deputy Curtis’ comments as “not only deeply insulting to a respected and distinguished visiting academic from the UK but also offensive to all members of the Jersey Climate Group”.

He claims that both breached the code of conduct by failing to treat members of the public with respect and courtesy, and without malice.

Mrs Shenton-Stone and Deputy Curtis both declined to comment, saying that if a complaint had been filed, no comment should be made until the conclusion of the investigation.

In addition to asking for a vote of censure in the States Assembly, Mr Vibert also wants a written apology to the Jersey Climate Group, which describes itself as a “climate watchdog”, and he wants the States to refund the £250 hire charge for the alternative venue.

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