Speculation is swirling that Terry Lister may be leaving the Progressive Labour Party to sit in the House of Assembly as an Independent.
If this turns out to be the case, it will change the balance of the House of Assembly from 19 OBA and 17 PLP, to 19 OBA and 16 PLP, and 1 Independent.
First appointed by the PLP to the Senate in 1993, Mr Lister has represented Constituency #33 Sandy’s South and served as a PLP MP since he was first elected to Parliament in 1998. In last year’s General Election, he defeated the OBA’s Toni Spring, winning 56.52% [516-397] of the vote.
He was appointed to the first PLP Cabinet as Minister of Development, Opportunity and Government Services. Since then has held a number of portfolios including Labor, Home Affairs & Public Safety [2001-2003]; Works & Engineering [2003 -2004]; Education &Development [2004-2006], Energy, Telecommunications & E-Commerce [2007-2009], and Transport [2010-2011]
Mr Lister has put himself up for Party Leader twice in recent years, both times being defeated during internal PLP elections.
In December 2012 the Leadership election was between Mr Lister and Marc Bean, with Mr Bean being elected the new Party Leader by a margin of 111 – 35. In October 2010, Mr Lister was part of three-way battle for Party Leader, which resulted in former Premier Paula Cox winning with 124 votes, Mr Lister second with 39, and Dale Butler finishing with two votes.
Mr Lister is the second PLP MP who has been the subject of speculation in recent days, with various reports suggesting there may be a possibility of Randy Horton leaving the Party after being selected as Speaker of the House.
Neither the Party or Mr Lister has made an official comment at this time, however we will update as able.
Update 9.40pm: Unofficial reports indicate that Mr Lister appears to have resigned, and is expected by many to make an announcement to this effect tomorrow in the House of Assembly.
Update Feb 15, 7.20am: Both the PLP and Mr Lister continue to remain silent on this matter.
Update 11.38am: Terry Lister is in the process of formally announcing his resignation from the PLP in the House of Assembly this morning. He said he will continue to sit in the House as an Independent. Further details to come…
Update 11.44am: Mr Lister said, “So the message is clear, the delegates said it is time for you to go, the Leader has no place for me in his Shadow Cabinet.
“Remarkably I am hearing, Lister you just aren’t good enough. Mr Speaker, I have heard the message, and I must now act on it. I will no longer stand as a PLP MP, but I will now instead stand for Bermuda.
“I will vote for Bermuda on all votes taken in this Honourable House. I look forward to serving this term, and possibly future terms in this new role.”
Update 11.56am: The audio of Mr Lister’s announcement is available below
Update 12.53pm: Mr Lister’s full speech follows below:
I rise this morning to inform this Honourable House of a decision I have taken after consultation with the Executive of Constituency 33 and other key supporters in my constituency.
Mr Speaker, I have decided that for the balance of my political career I will stand as an independent member of this Honourable House.
This decision required much thought, consultation and, most importantly, prayer. I have spoken with a wide variety of people in addition to my constituents. The strong response has been that I should continue to put country first and, in doing so, should move away from the bounds of party politics and stand free to represent my constituents and my country led by my God and my conscience.
So you see, Mr Speaker, ultimately, this was a fairly easy decision.
I have served the Bermuda Progressive Labour Party(PLP) since 1989. At that point I was the Campaign Manager for Sandys, when recovering from the disaster of the 1985 election we regained the two seats previously lost in Sandys North and we have held all Sandys seats since that election.
Mr Speaker, I have served as Chairman of the Sandys Branch, Co-National Campaign Chair with the former Premier of this country, the Honourable Alex Scott, in 1993. I was appointed to the Senate following the 1993 election serving with future Ministers Milton Scott and Neletha Butterfield.
In 1998 Mr Speaker, along with yourself, the Honourable Dennis Lister (currently the longest serving member of this Honourable House) and the Honourable Derrick Burgess, I was part of the PLP team that swept the election.
As most would know, I have been the Minister in several Ministries meeting with much success along the way. However, the past few years have been extremely difficult and less satisfying for myself. Some of that difficulty stems from my decision to stand in this very House in July 2009 to express my grave concerns about the rising debt that the Government was incurring.
Mr Speaker, to my own surprise, following the election loss of December 17th, I was asked by the Deputy Leader if I would take on the Party Leadership. I agreed with much reluctance. The Parliamentary Group agreed that I would go forward as their choice and on Friday of that same week an election for Party Leader was held.
I lost that election to the present Party Leader. These things happen. However, what was of grave concern to myself and others, was the hostility that I was greeted with. As an example, during my speech I noted that I had served in the Legislature for nearly 20 years, my comment was met with a loud response from a delegate who said “well, it’s time for you to go!”
After the Leadership election was over the new Leader asked me if I would become the Shadow Finance Minister. I had never wished to be Finance Minister so the job of Shadow Finance Minister did not really appeal to me. However, at the time I said I would do the job. I pondered over this decision for the next four or five days.
Finally, I decided to send the Leader an email declining that post and making myself available for any other post in the Shadow Cabinet that the Leader wished me to take. Within a very short time of sending the email I got a call from my wife who asked me why I was not in the Shadow Cabinet.
I asked her to explain what she was talking about and, to my great surprise, she told me that Shadow Cabinet had been announced about two hours ago! So I was out of the Shadow Cabinet long before I unknowingly sent my email!
Mr Speaker, last week as we lined up to go to the Cabinet grounds for the Throne Speech, I found myself lined up as the 36th Member of the House. Of course, someone has to have that spot. Usually it is reserved for a brand new Member of Parliament (MP) who is having his or her first day in the House not a veteran of 19 years in the Legislature.
So the message is clear. The delegate said “it’s time for you to go.” The Leader has no place for me in his Shadow Cabinet. Remarkably, I am hearing “Lister, you just aren’t good enough.”
Mr Speaker, I have heard the message and I now must act on it. I will no longer stand as a PLP MP but I will now instead stand for Bermuda. I will vote for Bermuda on all votes taken in this Honourable House. I look forward to serving this term and possibly future terms in this new role,
Thank you Mr Speaker.
Update 2.55pm: The PLP issued a very brief statement saying, “The Progressive Labour Party acknowledges and accepts the resignation from the Party of the Member of Parliament for Constituency 33, Sandys South, Mr Terry Lister JP, MP. We thank him for his years of service to the PLP and wish him well in the future.”
Update 5.12pm: Video of Mr Lister speaking after his announcement today
Update 5.26pm: Opposition Leader Marc Bean on Mr Lister’s resignation
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