What a carry on, Chief Minister

Joe Garcia

His eagerness to get a good Brexit deal for Gibraltar has blurred the better vision of the Chief Minister Fabian Picardo, by urging MPs to vote for the deal secured by Prime Minister Theresa May and thus taking sides in a deeply divided British Parliament. This is the last thing a Gibraltar chief minister should do, because our friends and supporters in Parliament come from all political parties, some of whom, whether rightly or wrongly, are bitterly opposed to the May deal. 

This is the extraordinary statement Mr Picardo makes in an article he has written in yesterday's The Times as the Brexit debate begins: "As far as Gibraltar is concerned, the deal proposed by Mrs May works because it protects our interests in the process of withdrawal and it protects our interests for the future negotiations. So if I were sitting in the Commons next Tuesday as the MP for Gibraltar, I would use my vote to back Mrs May’s deal. It is imperfect but all compromises are imperfect. The nature of deals is that they are compromises, and those who won’t settle for less than everything they want tend to get nothing of what they want".

The headline says that for Gibraltar's sake,'MPs should back May's Brexit deal.'

Being put in such an envious position will rattle many MPs. Mr Picardo is telling them that if they don't back the May deal, they are doing a disservice to Gibraltar - never mind what the MPs think or want!

What a way to potentially break up relations cemented over decades between Gibraltar and so many MPs who have backed the Rock.

In fact, his first words in the article also go off on a tangent that some may not understand. He says, quite rightly that Gibraltar will never give up it’s British sovereignty, but then, at a time such as this when Madrid is knocking the Rock and is showing its true colours in wanting to promote joint sovereignty, Mr Picardo can only think of adding "but we want friendly relations with Spain..."

Of course, in normal circumstances wanting good relations with everyone may be an aim of policy, but begging for it at the wrong time is bad politics.

And he then goes on to say the following: So if I were sitting in the Commons next Tuesday as the MP for Gibraltar, I would use my vote to back Mrs May’s deal.

And he ends his untimely piece in The Times with the following: "But since Gibraltar has no vote of its own in the Commons, I call on all members of parliament who are Gibraltar’s friends to think about these facts, think about what the alternative could mean for Gibraltar and to vote for this Brexit deal the prime minister has secured for the whole UK family. The fact is that, whatever their intentions, those voting against this deal in hope of no deal are not helping Gibraltar."

So, there we have the Chief Minister of Gibraltar interfering in UK internal politics in an issue that deeply divides them, the last thing anyone who wants friends should do.

What a carry on, Chief Minister.