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First Vote For New States Is On Men's Jackets

Things are heating up in the States Assembly, as the first sitting of Jersey's new parliament opened with a short debate into whether male politicians should be allowed to take off their jackets.

One of the Standing Orders says they should be worn at all times in the States Chamber, which Deputy Louise Doublet asked to be overlooked as temperatures are expected to reach nearly 30°C today:

"I've noted there's an inequality in the Standing Orders whereby male members of the Assembly are not permitted to take off their jackets, and temperatures are expected to reach the high 20s.

I wondered if you would consider raising that particular standing order to address that inequality given the heat today?"

Her request to the Deputy Bailiff, who was presiding over the Assembly, ended up being put to a formal debate after an intervention from St Helier Constable, Simon Crowcroft:

SC: "I wondered if this matter would be opened for debate, sir?"
Deputy Bailiff: "You want a debate?!"
SC: "I'd just like to express my opposition to the move. If the Chair can suffer the heavy robes that go with the office, I don't see why we shouldn't suffer our jackets."

Deputy Ian Gorst suggested that it might be appropriate for politicians to wear their jackets while addressing States Members, but take them off the rest of the time.

Deputy Rob Ward urged States Members to be forward-looking and take a practical approach:

"One of the issues we have in this assembly is trying to attract new people into a modern, forward-thinking, constructive assembly - regardless of differences in political opinions and some of the discussions, debates and arguments that will happen here. I think talking about jackets is something from the past, and we need to look to the future.

There's no reason we shouldn't be comfortable in your workplace - I certainly would have said to my students when I was a teacher 'it's too hot, don't wear a tie - I'd rather you were concentrating on what we're doing, the content of your work and the overall thought you're putting into the job you do'... If taking your jacket off helps you to do that, then I would urge that's what we should do."

Deputy Doublet's informal proposition was overwhelmingly approved, leading Deputy Monty Tadier to quip that he's glad 'the burning issue of the day' had been dealt with.

States Members then moved on to selecting the new Council of Ministers.

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