The UK’s Minister for Europe, Sir Alan Duncan, has told the Representation in Westminster group that “adequate mechanisms” already exist for the people and the Government of Gibraltar to express their views without the need for a Gibraltar MP in the House of Commons.
Sir Alan was responding after the group handed its petition, backed by 14,000 signatures, to the Prime Minister at No. 10 Downing Street and to the House of Commons.
The group has since received “almost identical” replies from both Sir Alan and the Petitions Department of the House of Commons.
In a letter to the group, Sir Alan states: “We remain as always open to dialogue on any proposals put forward by the Government of Gibraltar.”
Both replies state that the UK Government believes that “…adequate mechanisms already exist for the people and the Government of Gibraltar to express their views.”
“As well as the strong relationship between UK and Gibraltar Ministers there is the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Gibraltar which is proactive in defending Gibraltar in parliamentary debates.”
They also refer to other frameworks such as inter-Governmental meetings between the UK and Gibraltar Governments.
The group insisted that this ignores the “increasing threats and harassments” coming from Spain, whose policy is to win sovereignty of Gibraltar and the desire of the people of Gibraltar to remain British in perpetuity under the protection of the British Crown.
“Our Movement has replied to Sir Alan Duncan saying that we welcome the excellent relationship between the UK and the Gibraltar Government and whilst the All Parliamentary Group has been proactive in defending Gibraltar, we nevertheless are not happy that that should persist, and, from our conversations with that group, most of the Group’s members agree with our views.”
“We hold to the fact that as a further step to the emancipation of our Parliamentary system Gibraltarians, as British Citizens, are suffering from a huge Parliamentary deficit given that Gibraltar does not have its own voice when matters relating to Gibraltar are raised in Westminster and this responsibility should rest with the Gibraltarian people itself.”
In its letter of response the group further stated: “Besides, there is a political advantage for Gibraltar’s representative to be seen in the UK parliament since the world, especially the remaining 27 countries of the EU, would see that Gibraltar is in fact a member of the British Family and a devolved region of the UK.”
“It would be a slap in the face to those European Countries who have branded Gibraltar ‘A Colony’ and have treated, and will continue to treat Gibraltar, in such a disgraceful and deplorable way.”
“Once the UK leaves the EU if at some time in the future the UK wants to rejoin Gibraltar would either be left out in limbo or have to come under Spain. This is completely unacceptable for us.”
“As to reference to the other British Overseas Territories we need only to add that Gibraltar is constitutionally different to all of them since Gibraltar is the only British Overseas Territories that does not have the freedom to seek Independence, and we have two choices either to integrate with Spain, something we abhor, or join Britain as an Autonomous devolved region of the UK.”
In a letter to the Chief Minister, the group has requested to meet with him so that it can follow up on this matter with him and his Deputy, Dr. Joseph Garcia.