May 16 - Government: "The Leader Of The Opposition Elliott Phillips Is Being Economical With The Truth"

The Government has said that the Opposition’s criticism of the number of meetings of Parliament in the last few months is "opportunistic and unfair".

A statement from the government follows below:

The Leader of the Opposition Elliott Phillips is being economical with the truth. The truth is that the Chief Minister fully explained to them that there would be a reduction in the number of meetings precisely because of the disproportionate volume of work generated by Gibraltar’s departure from the European Union. The Opposition understood this and that is why they gave the Government what they now call “space to navigate”.

Mr Phillips appears not to have realised that that sadly the work related to our proposed departure from the European Union has not finished. Indeed, the Chief Minister is in London this week in detailed discussions about the future relationship. Next week, Gibraltar will happily vote in EU Elections, thereby making a meeting of Parliament almost impossible given that the staff of the Parliament and the Clerk are running the European Election in Gibraltar. The following week, there will be a meeting of the Parliament for questions. The Opposition have clearly not thought through the timing issues here.

It is deeply regrettable that the Opposition should seek to take advantage of the situation in this way. They should understand that we are dealing with matters that relate to the national interest and they should show more loyalty in the face of the wider challenges that Gibraltar continues to face.

In any case, the Opposition are also completely mistaken. It was perfectly normal when they were in power for two or three meetings of Parliament to take place in an entire year. They hold the absolute worst record in this respect with only one question-time in the whole of 2003. Indeed, the then GSD Government provided for 12 question times in the period 2007 to 2011. In sharp contrast, the GSLP/Liberal Government provided for 33 such meetings for questions in the four year term that followed. All this was before Brexit.

However, even this year, in 2019, Parliament has met ten times and questions have been taken in three of those meetings!