Gibraltar election: We’re Brexit ready! The Rock heads to polls for snap vote.

The election has been brought forward to the same date as the European Council Summit on October 17, where Prime Minister Boris Johnson is hoping to bring back a Brexit deal. But Gibraltar’s Chief Minister Fabian Picardo, who is currently the frontrunner of the election, said his campaign is aiming to reassure voters the government is prepared for a no-deal departure if Mr Johnson is unable to secure a deal. Mr Picardo added his government has drawn up a plan detailing every step he will take with his Cabinet before and after a no-deal outcome.

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He told POLITICO: “We are ready for the morning after if that eventuality were to come to pass.

“Every minute of my day, of the deputy chief’s day, and the day of most officials would be planned from 48 hours before a hard Brexit and to the immediate actions that we would be making in the run-up and in the minutes after a hard Brexit occurs.”

Mr Picardo is standing again as the candidate of a coalition between his party, the Gibraltar Socialist Labour Party and the Liberal Party.

The coalition has ruled Gibraltar since 2011.

Voters will head to the polls in Gibraltar on Thursday
Voters will head to the polls in Gibraltar on Thursday (Image: GETTY)

Mr Picardo faced a challenge to his campaign when the British government’s Operation Yellowhammer documents were leaked to the Times Newspapers in August.

They stated Gibraltar was not ready for a no-deal Brexit and that it has not invested in enough “contingency infrastructure”.

This is despite the Brexit deadline being delayed from March to the end of October.

There were also concerns that “prolonged border delays over the longer term are likely to adversely impact Gibraltar’s economy”, meaning the territory “will not have passed all necessary legislation for no-deal.”

READ MORE: Gibraltar: Six-hour queues and tourism slump with no deal Brexit

Gibraltar’s Parliament consists of just 17 seats
Gibraltar’s Parliament consists of just 17 seats (Image: GETTY)

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Mr Picardo’s election rivals also took advantage of the document.

Keith Azopardi, the leader of the centre-right party Gibraltar Social Democrats (GSD) and a former deputy chief minister of Gibraltar, accused the government of carrying out “superficial and token discussions with the opposition without sharing any documents” on Brexit preparations in their manifesto.

The party’s manifesto also pledged tax incentives for businesses after Brexit and cuts to income tax rates.

Another rival, Marlene Hassan Nahon, founder of the left-wing party Together Gibraltar, supported a second Brexit referendum.

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The coalition has ruled Gibraltar since 2011
The coalition has ruled Gibraltar since 2011 (Image: GETTY)

This meant her party would campaign to remain in the EU.

But Mr Picardo blasted the Operation Yellowhammer document as “massively out of date.”

He also has the support of Ann Widdecombe, who represents Gibraltar in the European Parliament for the Brexit Party.

She supports a no deal Brexit and believes Gibraltar is ready for that outcome, due to their “sheer ‘can do’ attitude.”

Mr Picardo blasted the Operation Yellowhammer document as “massively out of date”
Mr Picardo blasted the Operation Yellowhammer document as “massively out of date” (Image: GETTY)

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She said: “I don’t think a no-deal Brexit is going to deliver a blow to anybody’s economy.

“I think it is actually going to enable us to boom and to do very nicely.”

Gibraltar’s Parliament consists of just 17 seats, with nine seats needed for a working majority.

Mr Picardo’s party currently has 10 seats.

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