Frank Walker (Jersey politician)

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Frank Harrison Walker
Frank Walker Chief Minister profile.jpg
1st Chief Minister of Jersey
In office
December 2005 – December 2008
Preceded by Office created
Succeeded by Terry Le Sueur
Senator in the States of Jersey
In office
December 1996 – December 2008
Deputy in the States of Jersey
In office
December 1990 – December 1996
Personal details
Born Jersey
Spouse(s) Fiona Walker (formerly Spurr)
Residence St Brelade,[1] Jersey
Occupation businessperson

Frank Harrison Walker OBE was the first Chief Minister of Jersey, 2005-2008.

Career outside politics[edit]

In 1973 Walker became managing director and a major shareholder in the Jersey Evening Post, the Island's only newspaper. He later took over chairmanship of the Guiton Group, a company listed on the Alternative Investment Market and owners of the Jersey Evening Post, Guernsey Evening Press and ITEX. He stepped down from that position and severed all connections with the company, in February 2005, 10 months before standing for election as Chief Minister.

Political record[edit]

Walker was first elected to the States of Jersey on 13 December 1990 as Deputy of St Helier No 3 and was re-elected in 1993; he was then elected as Senator in 1996 and re-elected on 12 December 2002.

While a senator, Walker was the subject of rumours that he was a "serial wife-beater" and also that he abused his office by receiving "improper and corrupt inducements". These allegations were never tested in a court of law. [2]However, in 2001, Walker took legal action against a Jersey accountant and the then head of Jersey's volunteer police system for spreading rumours that he was a serial wife-beater. The case was settled out of court, with the two paying Walker's legal and other costs and taking out a full page advertisement in the local paper to apologise unreservedly for their actions. The advertisement also carried an unreserved apology from one of the men for falsely accusing Walker of accepting financial inducements from a development company.

After his 2002 election win Walker stated that would be his final term of office in the States and he did not stand for re-election in 2008. He was elected as the Island's first Chief Minister in 2005.

When Walker left office in 2008 Jersey had assumed responsibility for its own international affairs, previously undertaken by the United Kingdom Government, negotiated a number of Tax Information Exchange Agreements with EU and OECD member states, introduced a new form of indirect taxation, together with a new co-ordinated income support scheme for the less well-off, and Jersey had a balanced budget, no debt and substantial cash reserves.

In February 2008, allegations were made of widespread historic child abuse in Jersey in the 1970s. Walker made it clear that his Council of Ministers would ensure that anyone who had been guilty of child abuse in that investigation would be brought to justice and that a fully independent public enquiry, chaired by a leading U.K. lawyer, would be established. Since then a number of individuals have been prosecuted and the enquiry, whose start was delayed due to police investigations, has commenced its work.

On 25 February 2008 in an interview with Jeremy Paxman on the BBC's Newsnight programme the BBC, unbeknown and invisible to Walker, used heavily edited footage of an interview he had previously given to BBC Jersey which sought to suggest he was more interested in Jersey's reputation than the victims of child abuse.

However, on 26 February 2009, the BBC Trust, the BBC's own Editorial Watchdog, upheld a complaint from a member of the public and released a report criticising the Newsnight programme for significant failings in the conduct of this interview, stating that the interview had not upheld the BBC's guidelines on fairness and impartiality, that Senator Walker had been misquoted, that Walker's earlier comments had been edited in a way as to misrepresent what Senator Walker had said and so as to mislead the audience and that the correction had not gone far enough in remedying the unfair implications that the quotes had suggested. Frank Walker stated that he was very happy with the outcome, and that he felt vindicated for what he felt was the low-point of his political career.[3][4]

Walker was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 2011 New Year Honours List.

Walker now serves on a number of company boards, including the Ports of Jersey, and Andium Homes, a company set up to bring all Jersey's social housing stock up to Decent Homes Standard, both of which are fully owned by the States of Jersey. He also acts as Trustee for two charitable organisations.