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Opinion & Analysis

Fabian Picardo’s project fear

By Siân Jones

As has been repeated by both parties throughout the campaign, handling Brexit requires politicians with experience. Fabian Picardo is correct in saying that relationships forged with the UK, EU and Spain are crucial going forward.

What they are not telling you is that these are not the exclusive domain of the GSLP government.

I am just as experienced, as the incumbent Government and just as well connected with key players in the EU institutions. That is why Together Gibraltar’s leader, Marlene Hassan Nahon, entrusted me with the Brexit portfolio.

During my career, I have spoken many times in the European Parliament and built a wide network of central bankers, legislators, policymakers, officials and influencers in both the UK and EU. The GSLP/Liberals court the likes of Brexit party MEPs whose sole purpose is to work against Gibraltar’s interests and the will of the people of Gibraltar as overwhelmingly expressed in the Brexit referendum; MEPs who will no longer sit in the European Parliament after Brexit day. Meanwhile, I can pick up the phone and speak directly to MEPs from the remaining 27 member states who will have real influence after Brexit.

The Government’s track record is full of inconsistencies. Despite claims of successful lobbying, Spain was allowed a veto over our affairs. The GSLP/Liberals then bound us to a tax treaty patently skewed in favour of Spain.

People want to know what we would do to handle a no deal Brexit on the 31st. It is important to make clear, a month ago, the Westminster Parliament passed the so called Benn Act, effectively blocking a no-deal Brexit on 31st October. However, we can never be complacent and rule out any outcome: deal, no deal or remain.

The reality is planning has already been undertaken and contingency arrangements put in place by civil servants who have worked tirelessly for months preparing Gibraltar for Brexit.

They are the ones who have been working with counterparts in Whitehall, Brussels and Madrid; and they are the ones who will successfully implement Brexit, deal or no deal, with or without a transition period. The Attorney General, Chief Secretary, Financial Secretary and the army of civil servants and outside experts who have been working on Brexit will still be there to serve the people after Thursday, whoever is in government.

The Brexit saga will unfold this week. To get a deal through, Boris Johnson is making concessions regarding the Irish border. Any amendments to the Withdrawal Agreement will need to be agreed at Thursday’s European Council summit and then go to the Westminster Parliament next Saturday. Failing that an extension to 31st January 2020 is the most likely outcome.

Even though the final outcome remains uncertain, a No Deal Brexit on 31st October is effectively ruled out.

Unnecessarily fueling fear about an imminent no deal Brexit does little to help us prepare to the coming months.

If you are sick and tired of the constant finger-pointing, lies and corruption, then we need a strong TG presence in Parliament.

If you want a modern, technology-led economy and a progressive, experienced and capable government, vote for a better way. Vote for the Together Gibraltar Ten.