“We note the statement issued by the Government confirming that they have issued a Restriction Notice under their newly acquired powers under the Inquiries Act 2024. We have serious concerns that this is no more than an attempt to side-step the Chairman of the Inquiry who has already ruled against the Government when it made submissions on public interest grounds to seek to exclude certain evidence. If this is a second bite at that particular cherry then all that has happened is that the Government have converted themselves into the Court of Appeal from the Chairman.

We further note that the Government has offered to show the Notice to the Opposition on Privy Council terms only. This means that the Opposition would be unable to comment publicly on the terms of the Notice for the moment. Despite that the Government appears to feel free in their own press release to tell the public what the Notice allegedly is and isn’t about. It is, however, impossible for the Opposition to say one way or the other what all this is about as we have not seen the Notice and neither is it able to publicly comment on the real reasons behind the decision.

The Government really cannot have it both ways – to seek to gag Opposition comment but then proceed to comment itself in a one-sided way. However, in deference to the Inquiry Chairman who has not yet expressed a view on this the Leader of the Opposition is confirming to the Chief Minister that he is prepared to receive the Notice on Privy Council terms at this stage to see its context and until the Chairman decides whether it should be made public. This is out of respect to the Inquiry Chairman as the Opposition have always proceeded on the basis that the Chairman should be allowed to carry out his job in the way he considers appropriate. If the Chairman makes the Notice public the Opposition may comment further or indeed comment on the details as disclosed by the Government. At this stage the Opposition will not accept any further private briefing in relation to purported reasons.

Finally we are dismayed at the nonsense being spouted by the Government and Mr Feetham in particular, about the Opposition having damaged Gibraltar’s reputation. This is palpably false. The damage to Gibraltar’s reputation has been caused by Mr Picardo and his Government. There is now a litany of examples in this saga that show this.”