Investigations are now under way because the new cooling system in the refurbished States Chamber does not appear to be circulating air evenly.The system seems to work at the end of the chamber on which the Senators sit, but does not cool the area where many Deputies are seated.Deputy Phil Rondel has asked the Bailiff, Sir Philip Bailhache, several times in recent weeks for permission to remove his jacket because of the stifling heat.But the Deputy – whose habit is to roll up his trouser-legs in attempts to keep cool – said his requests had been turned down as Sir Philip was adamant that the States was a parliament and it would be ‘unparliamentary’ behaviour for Members to be sitting in shirt sleeves.’I have asked in every session and have been turned down each time,’ said the Deputy.
‘The cooling system does not seem to be working properly and many of us on the Deputies’ benches find it very uncomfortable.’He wrote to Public Services to complain that the air conditioning was not working properly.
‘Given that this is a new installation, it should not have been beyond the ability of a competent design engineer to attain an ambient temperature across the entire chamber,’ he said in his letter, a copy of which has been sent to the Bailiff.Public Services director of architecture Graham Hutchison is investigating the matter.
His reply stated that the location of the Greffier’s table in front of his desk blocks one of the main circulation outlets.Mr Hutchison also pointed that the cooling system was not yet completely tested and commissioned.Deputy Rondel is not the only unhappy politician.
Deputy Roy Le Hérrissier said that the ushers were not allowed to wear short-sleeved shirts whereas women Members can wear blouses.
‘It’s double standards and I believe we are being discriminated against, with the men having to wear jackets and ties,’ he said.The Constable of St Helier, Simon Crowcroft said he would like to see the rules changed.
‘It’s wrong in these modern times that we are not allowed to wear what we want to.
The rules need changing.
Maybe someone should consider bringing a proposition,’ he said.St Peter Deputy Collin Egré said that a decision should be taken before sittings begin on whether jackets should be worn.
‘It should be agreed between Members and the Greffier beforehand, not raised on the floor of the House,’ he said.
‘If we are going to have jackets off, we need proper coat-hooks, or jackets will be strewn across the benches.’However, the Bailiff’s stance does have some support from Deputy Guy de Faye.
He said: ‘There has been internal betting going on that I would bring a proposition on dress codes.
Personally, I am not bothered.
I think the public do expect us to dress smartly for official occasions.’