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Government: Azopardi and Gomez “cannot excuse their failed attempts at Direct Rule”

The Governement says it notes what it calls the “unsustainable excuses” deployed by Keith Azopardi and Charles Gomez while claiming that the Government has “uncovered their unsuccessful attempts to seek that Direct Rule be imposed on Gibraltar.” 

A statement continued: "The response from Mr Azopardi to the clear attempt he made to seek Direct Rule fails to address the fact that he was concerned that the meeting with the Governor was delayed until after Assent was given. 

“Why would that have been an issue if he was not seeking to make his points BEFORE Assent, to seek to prevent or delay Assent being given? 

“Mr Azopardi will, therefore, go down in history as a Leader of the Opposition who has been disloyal to the interests of Gibraltar as a whole and put his own, personal and party political interests ahead of the public interest of Gibraltar in seeking Direct Rule, in a manner that would have reversed 50 years of constitutional development in Gibraltar. 

“Mr Gomez's remarks are legally nonsensical and totally ignore that the fact that the principal power to make laws for the "peace, order and good government" of Gibraltar is constitutionally vested in the Gibraltar Parliament, and NOT in the Government of the United Kingdom. 

“The reserved power, which is a different power in relation to "peace, order and good government" is, anyway, of His Majesty, not the UK Government, and is contained in paragraph 8 (the last paragraph) of the Annex to the Constitution. 

“The UK Government, therefore, rightly gave short shrift to Mr McGrail's lawyers' attempts to have Direct Rule imposed on Gibraltar, not least because, in making the new Inquiries Act, the Government of Gibraltar were simply copying the current state of UK law. 

“It is remarkable to think that Mr McGrail's lawyers might purport to charge the Gibraltarian taxpayer for these attempts to overturn our Constitutional development in seeking to deploy such retrograde, colonial measures. 

“The sums paid to Mr McGrail's lawyers alone now exceeds £750,000.00. Nonetheless, these failed attempts at having Direct Rule imposed on Gibraltar do help to show that the GSD, Mr Azopardi in particular and Mr McGrail, through his lawyers, clearly are the ones who put their narrow interests before the wider interests of Gibraltar. 

“They will clearly stop at nothing in their "scorched earth" campaign of libelling and vilifying the Chief Minister and the Government of Gibraltar, even though that has a hugely negative effect on Gibraltar as a whole and the people of Gibraltar in particular. 

“That selfish and self-serving approach from Mr Azopardi, the GSD and Mr McGrail and his legal team might give the public reason to pause and realise that they are not acting in the public interest of Gibraltar and that the Government, despite the intense criticism that has been whipped up against it, are acting to protect the public interest of Gibraltar and its people.”