It is incredible that Mr Picardo seeks to defend that a senior lawyer from the serving Chief Minister’s own law firm should be appointed to as sensitive a position as Chair of the Police Authority. Has he learnt no lessons from the facts underlying the McGrail Inquiry? Given that this Inquiry has heard so much evidence on the links between the Chief Minister and his law firm the sheer arrogance of this appointment when the Inquiry has not even reported is staggering.

Leader of the Opposition, Keith Azopardi said: “This is the deep blue water between the GSD and the GSLP. We think it is obviously wrong in terms of good governance for the incumbent Chief Minister to propose or support the appointment of someone from his law firm to chair the Police Authority. Mr Picardo doesn’t even think about it or worse still thinks it’s ok.”

Imagine a future scenario similar to Operation Delhi where the Chief Minister and his law firm have beneficial interests in a company within the scope of a police investigation where the investigation extends to a senior Hassans lawyer. Or a hypothetical future scenario where a Chief Minister is under investigation by a Commissioner of Police and that Chief Minister tries to orchestrate Police Authority intervention to pressurise the Commissioner. Does anyone think that in those scenarios it would ever be right for the Police Authority chair to have been appointed from the same law firm as the Chief Minister?

Those future scenarios show how inappropriate this appointment is. This is not about Mr Montegriffo. It is about the principle that a serving Chief Minister (whoever that is) should ensure that a Police Authority Chairman is not appointed from his own law firm or from his friends or associates. It is about good governance being seen to be done and not just being done. It’s about having proper checks and balances to avoid allegations of incestuous behaviour. This is about ringfencing obvious and perceived conflicts of interest. This protects the Police from the perception and risk of the Government exercising influence via the Police Authority Chair and in turn on the Police. It’s about proper arm’s length politics.

Mr Azopardi added: “We are happy to give that commitment. If I was elected Chief Minister and in Government we would ensure that no lawyer from my law firm (TSN) was appointed to Chair the Police Authority. It would not even occur to me to do so given how sensitive this appointment is and how it is important that it should look entirely unimpeachable.

It is also incredible that Mr Picardo should use a series of red herrings to confuse issues or pretend that there is distance between him and this appointment. It is within his gift under the law to ensure that the persons from whom the chair of the GPA is chosen does not include any person who has a professional or personal association with him. He has clearly failed to ensure that. When both Mr Picardo’s obvious potential successors within the GSLP also have long-standing links with the same law firm it just means that Mr Picardo’s departure will not even resolve the obvious inappropriateness of the appointment of someone from Mr Picardo’s law firm.”