Election Timing Free of McGrail Cloud
Mr Picardo is running scared from the McGrail Inquiry and the calling of an election for a period that does not coincide with any hearings of the McGrail Inquiry is no accident. Mr Picardo’s statement that the McGrail Inquiry “cannot come soon enough” for him is stunning given that his own lawyers made clear to the Inquiry chairman that Mr Picardo had asked them to raise a concern about the “appropriateness” of the Inquiry going ahead during a general election. That was widely reported in the press when this was said in July this year. The implication is clear namely that Mr Picardo did not want the McGrail Inquiry to be the backdrop to his re-election campaign.
The link to the hearing of 19 July 2023 is here: https://www.gbc.gi/news/mcgrail-inquiry-timetable-could-be- impacted-general-election-raised-fourth-preliminary-h
Subsequently given the ongoing criminal investigation into allegations that witnesses against Mr McGrail received inducements the Chairman has, in his own judgment, postponed the hearing. This has left the calendar free of any McGrail inquiry hearing till at least the end of October
GSD Leader, Keith Azopardi said: “Mr Picardo has chosen a date for the general election that is free of any McGrail Inquiry hearing. That is a fact. Presumably that is what he would have wanted when he expressed concern about the “appropriateness” of an election coinciding with the McGrail Inquiry. That is not an attempt to muddy the waters. It is also a fact that he goes into the election with clouds of allegations of improper conduct hanging over him. That is unprecedented for a Chief Minister.
He can say what he likes but we are asked to believe that the timing of the election has nothing to do with the McGrail Inquiry having no hearings till at least the end of October. The GSD does not believe the timing is coincidental given the previous indications from Mr Picardo’s lawyers. He clearly didn’t want an election to coincide with any hearing in the McGrail Inquiry because he is running scared from the political damage caused by that Inquiry. That is also part of the election backdrop whether he likes it or not.”
Increasingly Desperate GSLP Lies on Andorra
Fabian Picardo is increasingly desperate. In one of his election press conferences he is continuing to peddle the nonsense that Keith Azopardi is soft on Spain and according to him that it is dangerous to elect Mr Azopardi for that reason.
We have set out clearly how Keith Azopardi specifically and unequivocally rejected an Andorra solution for Gibraltar in a 2011 debate at which Mr Picardo was present and nodded in agreement.
Keith Azopardi said: “How many times is Mr Picardo going to lie or mislead people on this issue. He knows I said in 2011 that:
“My view is very specific on Andorra. It is not a solution for Gibraltar….the Andorra solution is never going to be a model for Gibraltar. Let me make that very very clear.”
If it is true that Spain avidly read what I say then they will know that I ruled out an Andorra solution for Gibraltar. They would also know we think Mr Picardo’s 2019 Tax Treaty was a shoddy concessionary deal.
This is the same tactic the old GSLP tried with Peter Caruana in 1996 and that Mr Picardo rolled out in 2011 against Sir Peter Caruana. This is just the same old card from the old tired GSLP playbook. And it is a disgrace of course that people who know me will not believe. After 30 years in politics people know where I stand on Spain. I was there and worked very hard to defeat joint sovereignty in 2002. Where was Mr Picardo then?
This is just a smokescreen. The reality is that he has a litany of failures in his wake. High debt, an inability or worse still an unwillingness to control waste, abuse and corruption and a track record of failure on Brexit. He can’t deliver the basics to people – clean streets, affordable housing on time or services that work efficiently. All he has left is to distract from the issues. We will not allow him to do so.”