Divisions over Brexit in UK do not affect Gibraltar

With Hilary Benn in Westminster
With Hilary Benn in Westminster

The Government has intensified its contact on Brexit with senior United Kingdom parliamentarians both in the House of Commons and the House of Lords in order to put across the position of Gibraltar.

The Chief Minister Fabian Picardo and Deputy Chief Minister Dr Joseph Garcia took advantage of their visit to London last week to meet opinion-formers on the Remain and the Leave sides of the argument. 

The Government says it is delighted with the continued firm support for Gibraltar across the political divide and on both sides of the Brexit argument.

On the Conservative side, there were discussions with five Ministers of UK Government in the context of the Joint Ministerial Council. Mr Picardo and Dr Garcia also met with prominent leave campaigner Sir Bernard Jenkin MP who is the Chair of the Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee, as well as with the Chair of the Treasury Committee Nicky Morgan MP. There was also a briefing with the Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Gibraltar Bob Neil MP.

On the Labour side, separate meetings were held with Shadow Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union Sir Kier Starmer MP and the Shadow Foreign Secretary Emily Thornberry MP. A very useful discussion both on Gibraltar and the wider Brexit issue was held with Hilary Benn MP, who chairs the EU Exit Committee in the House of Commons.

In a private meeting with the House of Lords EU Committee, the Chief Minister, the Deputy Chief Minister and the Attorney General each addressed a different aspect of Brexit as it affects Gibraltar. This covered such topics as the Withdrawal Agreement, no-deal contingency planning and the legislative programme for our EU departure. This was followed by a question and answer session.

The meeting in the House of Lords included Baroness Verma, the Chair of the External Affairs Sub Committee, as well as Lord Whitty who is Chair of the Internal Market Sub Committee.

Commenting on the meeting, the Chief Minister said: “The strategy of the Government in keeping parliamentarians abreast of developments in Gibraltar continues to work. Despite the intensity of the debate in the United Kingdom, key players at a national level made the time to meet with me and the Deputy Chief Minister in order to be updated on Gibraltar issues.

"It is very encouraging to see the high level of political support for Gibraltar in Parliament on every side of the argument. We have met people from both front benches and from all shades of Brexit opinion on the backbenches and all fully understand the position of the Government of Gibraltar and all remain completely supportive of our plight and our work. "Brexit has continued to be a divisive issue in the United Kingdom but on Gibraltar our many friends in Parliament remain strong and united.”