Labour will pledge to defend Gibraltar’s British sovereignty as part of its commitments in the UK general election in June, according to a leaked draft of its manifesto.
The draft document contains a section on Brexit in which Labour said it “accepts the referendum result” and intends to build a close new relationship with Europe “not as members but as partners”.
The party said it wants to retain the benefits of the EU’s single market and customs union, while immediately guaranteeing existing rights of EU nationals living in Britain and securing reciprocal rights for UK citizens living in other EU countries.
“We will also improve engagement and dialogue with the devolved administrations and seek to ensure the final Brexit deal addresses specific concerns,” the leaked document said.
“In particular Labour will ensure there is no return to a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland and that there is no change in the status or sovereignty of Gibraltar.”
The reference to Gibraltar in the leaked manifesto comes after intense lobbying by the Gibraltar Government and the recent visit to the Rock by Labour’s shadow foreign secretary Emily Thornberry, who said the party was “unequivocally committed” to Gibraltar.
The manifesto was approved yesterday and will be launched next week.
Labour officials said the leaked document had since been amended but it was not clear whether any of the changes related to the Brexit section or the reference to Gibraltar.
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