In his usual style Mr Picardo is more obsessed with smokescreens to distract from the substance of the bad deals he has negotiated than with responding on the actual effect and detail of the agreements themselves.
GSD Leader Keith Azopardi said: “In pointing out that frontier workers have received permanent protection and that Gibraltar residents have obtained nothing enduring by contrast in terms of freedom of movement in the MOUs that the Government negotiated Mr Phillips has said nothing new. Nor is it xenophobic to say so. All we sought was the same in return. It is an inescapable fact that in the negotiations Mr Picardo has failed to achieve an equally enduring protection of freedom of movement for Gibraltar residents. Additionally this is not an issue just for the future. If that is what Mr Picardo thinks then the whole debate on the Irish backstop has passed him by which is all about obtaining something enduring at the Irish border.
The GSD have been pointing this out since the EU published the draft in March 2018 – a full 6 months before it was signed. He could have tried to obtain a Gibraltar backstop but he did not. The worst thing is that Mr Picardo knows this is not new. He has been facing these criticisms repeatedly for a year and chose to do nothing to improve our position. So his feigned surprise on the comments made by Mr Phillips are transparent and lacking in credibility.
He has not obtained equivalent enduring benefits for Gibraltarians from any of his deals. They both favour Spain and secure benefits for Spain. In his latest deal the Tax Treaty he has agreed a set of rules that makes Gibraltar companies tax resident in Spain even when they are actually doing business in Gibraltar. The Tax Treaty will penalise some Gibraltarians who unfortunately could not afford to live in Gibraltar and were temporarily in Spain by treating them as Spanish tax resident for four years even after they return to Gibraltar. Conversely Spanish nationals and companies coming to Gibraltar after this Treaty get treated quite differently and are never Gibraltar tax resident even if they live or do their business here. Again he has failed to protect our citizens and achieve equal protection for individuals or to ensure it is still attractive for companies to come here to do business. Again that is a fact. A classic double taxation agreement does not have such failings. The Government has been painfully silent about the stark differences between the Gibraltar Tax Treaty and the tax treaty that the UK itself has with Spain. I know he does not like these things pointed out but maybe he should concentrate on getting equal protection for the people of Gibraltar. He has even sought to avoid Parliamentary scrutiny on this deal before signature despite promises that he would provide draft copies to the Opposition.
This is about his failings in negotiating bad deals and no amount of spin or name-calling can detract from that.