In his first act as GSD Leader, Keith Azopardi has appointed Elliott Phillips to lead the party in Parliament.
Mr Azopardi, who became the new leader of the Gibraltar Social Democrats last week having secured more than 60% of total votes from across the party’s executive and its members, has further announced new shadow responsibilities for the GSD parliamentary team.
Mr Azopardi, who is not himself an elected MP, yesterday paid a courtesy call on the Speaker, Adolfo Canepa, along with GSD MP Edwin Reyes. He has also written to Mr Canepa asking him to recognise Mr Phillips’ appointment from the Speaker’s Chair.
Mr Azopardi said: “Elliott is a popular, bright and articulate MP. Apart from Daniel Feetham he is the GSD MP that secured most votes in the 2015 general election.”
“He is also an excellent communicator and given that one of my objectives is to broaden our appeal and attract younger people into the GSD I believe that his appointment is perfectly in keeping with that strategy.”
“Elliott will do an excellent job in Parliament.”
Outside Parliament, Mr Azopardi will undertake overall supervision for the development of the party and strategy.
He will have overall responsibilities for presentation of party policy on the Economy, Brexit, Constitutional Affairs, Governance and Democracy, Civil Service and Public Sector Reform and the modernisation of Public Services as well as other functions.
As indicated by Mr Azopardi during the leadership election process, Roy Clinton – who acted as interim leader after the resignation of Daniel Feetham earlier this year – retains the shadow Finance responsibilities.
“He is clearly the best person for that job and so he continues to hold Government to account in this essential area of policy. Roy has my full confidence in this role and I look forward to working closely with him,” Mr Azopardi said.
Trevor Hammond has been assigned the Brexit portfolio which complements his existing responsibility of European Affairs as well as the Port and Heritage.
Mr Azopardi said: “Brexit is a major issue of challenge for this community and a big job in Parliament.”
“I am confident Trevor who is a very hard-working MP will do a great job in this area. We will work closely on this.”
In other changes, Mr Phillips assumes Housing, Health & Care; Edwin Reyes assumes Public Sector and MOD Industrial Relations and former party leader Daniel Feetham assumes the Justice portfolio as well as Civil Aviation.
As there is an existing set of questions before Parliament under the old responsibilities these new Shadow responsibilities are effective as from 18 December 2017.
Mr Clinton had indicated during the leadership election that he would not wish to be considered for the post of Parliamentary Leader.
In a statement Mr Azopardi explained that he has therefore asked Mr Phillips to lead the Parliamentary team with immediate effect.
The increase in Parliamentary salary that is due to Mr Phillips will, as was the case under the practice commenced by Mr Clinton, be donated to the Party by Mr Phillips.