Britain must ‘speak loudly’ for Gibraltar, LibDem MP says
The UK has a responsibility to “speak up loudly” for Gibraltar and ensure its views are properly represented, Tom Brake, Liberal Democrat spokesman for Foreign Affairs, has said.
Mr Brake is in Gibraltar on a ‘fact-finding visit’ and yesterday met with the Chief Minister, Fabian Picardo, and Deputy Chief Minister and Leader of the Liberal party, Dr Joseph Garcia.
Last year, Mr Brake pledged his full support for Gibraltar at the Liberal Democrat party conference in Brighton and having discussed the challenges facing Gibraltar in light of the referendum vote with Dr Garcia there, he agreed to visit the Rock.
At a press briefing at No. 6 Convent Place yesterday, Dr Garcia said the visit was Brexit related and Mr Brake had therefore visited the border and the air terminal and met with ministers who hold areas of responsibility where Brexit may have an impact.
Here Mr Brake, who is also chief whip for the Lib Dems, was quizzed on a number of issues such as aviation and fluidity at the border.
Asked for his views in regards to comments recently made by former Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg, in respect of Gibraltar, Mr Brake said the purpose of those comments was to put the spotlight on Gibraltar – much like his visit to the Rock.
Mr Clegg, who is currently the Lib Dems Brexit spokesman, said that Gibraltarians must be “very ferocious” in their demands to London ahead of Brexit negotiations, as he warned that Gibraltar’s fate “will be at the very bottom of Theresa May’s preoccupations”.
Yesterday Mr Brake said: “The UK has a responsibility to speak up loudly for Gibraltar and recognise that, yes, the UK has taken the decision to leave the EU, but the consequences not only for the UK but indeed Gibraltar and other countries such as Ireland are very, very significant indeed.”
He added that the UK has a duty to ensure that those views are “properly represented”.
Mr Brake, who campaigned ‘very strongly’ for Remain, said there are not many parts of the UK or beyond the UK’s shores where one can visit a place where 96% of the population voted for Remain.
“So, I feel very much at home,” he said of his first visit to Gibraltar.
FULL STORY IN OUR PRINT AND E-EDITIONS