Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson sent a message to guests at the Gibraltar Day in London reception, emphasising the UK’s “resolute support” for the Rock and its people.
Mr Johnson had been scheduled to speak at the finance lunch earlier in the day but had to cancel at the last minute due to pressing international commitments.
His message was read out by Chief Minister Fabian Picardo to 180 guests who gathered at the top of the iconic Gherkin building in London on Monday evening.
Mr Johnson said Gibraltar Day was a “fantastic celebration” of the UK’s “long and vibrant shared history” with Gibraltar and its “current thriving partnership”.
“I regret that I cannot be part of this event today, but I want to emphasise my – and the whole of the Government’s – resolute support for Gibraltar and its people,” the Foreign Secretary said in the message.
“We will continue to stand beside Gibraltar. We will never enter into arrangements under which the people of Gibraltar would pass under the sovereignty of another State against their wishes.”
“Furthermore, the UK will not enter into a process of sovereignty negotiations with which Gibraltar is not content.”
“And we will continue to work together to deepen our economic ties and shared prosperity.”
Guests at the reception were also addressed by Robin Walker, junior minister at the Department for Exiting the European Union.
Mr Walker will play a key role in the discussions between the UK and Gibraltar in the coming months as Britain prepares to negotiate its withdrawal from the EU.
In the same words used by the Foreign Secretary in his message – and by International Trade Secretary Dr Liam Fox at the lunch earlier that day – Mr Walker repeated the UK’s double-lock sovereignty commitment.
“Gibraltar is British and will reman British,” he added.
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