Saturday, June 04, 2005

Bossano gives Hoyle opposition briefing

Leader of the Opposition Joe Bossano held a two-hour meeting yesterday with Lindsay Hoyle MP Chairman of the All Party Gibraltar Group in Parliament.

The Opposition said they conducted a wide-ranging review of issues important to Gibraltar so as to bring supporters in the UK Parliament up to date following the general elections in the UK.

The areas discussed were the latest position regarding the Spanish pensioners claim for revaluation of their frozen pensions and the apparent possible threat of infraction proceedings against the UK by the European Commission.

Mr Bossano and Mr Hoyle reviewed the origins of the problem in the Brussels meeting of December 1985 and the subsequent decision of the UK Government to require Gibraltar social security pensions to be frozen as a condition for their financing the payment of Spanish pensions.

As regards the MOD privatisation plans, Mr Bossano said he had informed Mr Hoyle that although the Gibraltar Government had promised to introduce legislation to make the introduction of any such private contractor prohibitively expensive, this had not to date materialised, and he agreed to keep the Gibraltar Group briefed in respect of any legislation that emerged.

The problem faced in eliciting support in the United Kingdom against the background of a policy decision by the UK Government to cut 10,000 MOD civilian jobs in the UK itself and 94,000 in the rest of the civil service were discussed.

The question of pursuing Gibraltar’s decolonisation and the new constitution were also discussed and Mr Bossano gave a report on the latest state of play in other British Overseas Territories as reflected in the seminar in St Vincent.

As well as matters regarding Gibraltar’s economic and constitutional development, the discussions also touched on the bilateral relationship between the British Labour Party and the GSLP (Gibraltar Socialist Labour Party) with a view to strengthening the already existing links with the South West Region and the Parliamentary Labour Party and the annual conference.

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