Page last updated at 15:40 GMT, Wednesday, 5 December 2007

Uproar over senator States speech

The final States Assembly in Jersey has ended in disarray after the former health minister was cut off during his traditional Christmas speech.

Senator Stuart Syvret was asked a number of times to be quiet after he used his father of the house speech to discuss alleged cases of child abuse.

The historic abuse allegations are currently being investigated by police.

Senator Syvret said:"It was not a political speech, it was an ethical one written in the spirit of Christmas."

Eventually the Bailiff Phillip Baillache adjourned the assembly and cut off Senator Syvret's microphone.

....a matter that is of great importance but not for today
Sir Philip Bailache

The Bailiff told Senator Syvret that it was not the occasion "for an expression of your own personal views on a matter that is of great importance but not for today".

Senator Syvret then responded that he intended to complete his speech and argued with the Baliff that he had the right to carry on talking.

He continued reading his speech, despite protestations from the house and calls from Senator Le Main for every member to leave if he continued.

This then led the Bailiff to adjourn the assembly and to cut off Senator Syvret's microphone.

The States members then left the chamber.

Senator Syvret, who was sacked from his ministerial position in September, said: "I wanted to get to the end of it because it was a speech that was important to the victims.

"I really felt these people required some compassion and some kind of gesture acknowledging their suffering."

Jersey police have identified 21 suspects who have been repeatedly named by victims. No arrests have been made.

More than 70 people have contacted the police or a UK NSPCC helpline since the inquiry into the historic abuse allegations began on 22 November.

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