Parliament approves Consultative Council Bill
The Gibraltar Parliament last Friday passed a Bill to establish a Consultative Council that will allow the Government to call on the ‘best brains’ in Gibraltar for advice on matters of national importance.
The Bill was passed, despite strong opposition from the GSD, by eight votes to five with Independent MP Marlene Hassan Nahon voting in favour of it and four members absent.
The Gibraltar Consultative Council will advise the Government and specifically the Chief Minister on any issue of national importance on which advice is requested by him, including the governance and public interest of Gibraltar, the conduct of or performance of public policy and the Rock’s international obligations.
It represents a similar body to the Privy Council in the United Kingdom and its members would include current and past Chief Ministers and deputy Chief Ministers, the Justice Minister and the Leader of the Opposition, with scope for others to be involved on an ad hoc basis.
During Thursday’s session of Parliament the Chief Minister, Fabian Picardo, described the Bill as a “seminal” and “very, very important” piece of legislation for Gibraltar.
The proposals drew flak from the GSD with the Leader of the Opposition, Daniel Feetham, describing the GCC as “a potentially retrograde step from a democratic point of view.”
Mr Picardo expressed surprise at his reaction and pointed out that the GCC had featured in the 2015 GSLP/Liberal manifesto and at no time since then has the GSD expressed such concerns.