Guernsey Chief Minister Peter Harwood resigns

Peter Harwood
Image caption Deputy Peter Harwood said the media attention could damage his office

Guernsey's Chief Minister Peter Harwood has resigned his position due to the "risk to the reputation" of the office.

It follows national media reports about his previous role as a director of the Channel Islands Stock Exchange.

Questions about the regulation of the exchange are being investigated by the Guernsey Financial Services Commission.

Deputy Harwood said the ongoing investigation would "focus unnecessary media attention" on his position.

He said that would be to the "detriment of the reputation of that office" and "seriously detract from the vital ongoing work of the Policy Council and its sub-committees".

Deputy Chief Minister Jonathan Le Tocq said the Policy Council respected his decision.

He paid tribute to the work Deputy Harwood has done in the past two years and said an election to replace him was likely to be held at the March States meeting.

'Knee-jerk reaction'

Until he is replaced Deputy Harwood will continue to lead meetings of the Policy Council and other committees and sub-groups of which the chief minister is the head.

Deputy Le Tocq said: "This certainly wasn't a knee-jerk reaction... it had been discussed between him and Policy Council ministers for some time.

"There is still an investigation ongoing... that's well known [by] the public I think, but that might continue for some time.

"I have no reasons to believe at all that Deputy Harwood has done any wrongdoing at all."

He said further national coverage could damage the island's reputation and this was "primarily in [Deputy Harwood's] mind when he came to his decision".

Deputy Le Tocq said while there was speculation and "unhelpful comments" it is "awkward to manage and it involves a lot of time and effort to do that".

He said: "There comes a point when an individual like that feels it's appropriate he shouldn't put Guernsey, put the government, through that sort of process."

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