The Politics of Jersey
Jersey is autonomous and self-governing but is represented internationally by the UK government which is also responsible for the defence of the Island and has always adopted an arms length “non-interventionist policy”.
This means that Jersey is for most day-to-day purposes entirely self-governing in relation to its internal affairs, even though the Crown retains residual responsibility for the “good government” of the Island.
With no official political parties, there are 54 members of the States but only the 49 elected members – Senators, Connétables and Deputies – have the right to vote.
Senators represent the whole Island while Deputies represent 17 districts corresponding to parish boundaries except in St. Helier and St Brelade which have more than 1 district so their larger populations are represented. The Connétables are elected by their own parish assemblies.
There is no speaker so the Bailiff or his deputy preside over the assembly while the other four non-voting seats are occupied by His Excellency the Lieutenant-Governor, the Dean of Jersey, HM Attorney-General and HM Solicitor-General.
The States of Jersey comprises a Chief Minister, elected from within the house, and nine ministers known together as the Council of Ministers.
Their decisions are monitored by scrutiny panels usually selected from backbench politicians. Public consultations are normally held on contentious matters.
Although, Jersey has a strong tradition of honorary service, today local politicians are remunerated so as to attract members from a wide cross-section of the community, rather than those who have the independent means and free time to devote to public affairs.
The main responsibilities of the States of Jersey are varied but similar in nature to democratic governments elsewhere and includes passing laws, approving public expenditure, determining policy, and debating issues of public importance.
With regards to its status within the EU, which might be subject to change following BREXIT, Jersey has never been a member state nor an associate member of the European Union, rather its relationship has been governed by Protocol 3 to the UK’s Treaty of Accession in 1972 which provides favourable trading terms and free movement of EU citizens.