Gibraltar should be given the opportunity to elect its own MP in the House of Commons after Brexit as a reward for its “steadfast and loyal support to Britain”, a Conservative MP has said.
Brexiteer Craig Mackinlay is to introduce a private member’s bill offering Gibraltarians the right to elect a politician to Westminster.
Thanet South MP Mr Mackinlay will present his Representation of the People (Gibraltar) Bill under the 10 minute rule on May 15.
He said the Rock’s overwhelming 96% vote for Remain reflected the fact that “the EU had played, at times, a role in balancing the often fractious demands of its giant neighbour”.
“It would be for the people of Gibraltar to decide if they wish to have such representation, but as we leave the EU and forge a new Global Britain, and given the Rock’s unique constitutional position with its membership of the Sterling zone and its rich historical links to Britain, there has never been a more appropriate time to cement our relationship with a parliamentary bond,” he said.
“I very much hope that, with this Bill, we may be able to reward the Gibraltarian people for their steadfast and loyal support to Britain.”
Gibraltar is part of the single market but not the customs union.
Just 823 people here voted Leave in the June 2016 referendum, compared to 19,322 votes for Remain.
The Gibraltar Government said it was not the first time the idea of an MP for the territory had been suggested.
“Gibraltar already has its own parliament and is self-governing in all areas except defence, internal security and external relations,” a spokesman for No.6 Convent Place said.
“The question of whether or not Gibraltar should be represented in the UK Parliament, and the implications of this, is a matter for wider discussion in the community and across the Gibraltar parliament itself.”
“However, whatever happens, the institutions of Gibraltar as well as our level of self-government must be fully protected and upheld in any proposal that seeks to provide more formal representation in either the House of Commons or in the House of Lords.”
South West and Gibraltar pro-EU MEP Julie Girling criticised Mr Mackinlay’s plan.
Mrs Girling, who had the Conservative whip withdrawn last year after voting against the Government over Brexit in the European Parliament, said: “The best, and in my view, only solution is for the UK to remain part of the single market with all the benefits that brings.”
“I’m glad to see that hardline Brexiter Mr Mackinlay recognises the damage their political dogma is bringing to Gibraltar but this ‘solution’ will not work.”
“Gibraltar has its own government and representation in the European Parliament cannot be equated with Westminster.”