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Government to attend UK party conferences

Photo by Eyleen Gomez

The Government is set to resume its political lobbing work this month with the start of the party conference season in the United Kingdom.

“This allows the Gibraltar point of view to be relayed to a large number of UK politicians, parliamentarians and decision-makers gathered together in one location,” said a statement from No6 Convent Place.

This work will be carried out mainly by the Chief Minister, Fabian Picardo, and the Deputy Chief Minister, Dr Joseph Garcia, but other ministers may also be called upon to assist depending on the nature of the event and on the demands of the wider political calendar.

The passing of the Queen resulted in the first conference on the agenda, that of the Liberal Democrats in Brighton, being cancelled. Dr Garcia was set to participate in a panel discussion entitled “Outside the EU: devolved governments, borders, protocols – The Future.”

However, Dr Garcia will attend the Labour Party conference which is scheduled to take place from this until Wednesday, September 28 in Liverpool.

He will host a reception for Labour parliamentarians, councillors and other guests.

This will be followed by the Conservative Party conference in Birmingham from October 2 to 5.

“The Conservatives have earlier this month elected Liz Truss as party leader. This means that there is a new Prime Minister in place as well as a new ministerial team at the Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office,” said the statement.

“This will allow the Chief Minister the opportunity to host the very popular and now traditional Gibraltar Government reception.”

The Chef Minister and the Deputy Chief Minister will then split up when Mr Picardo will fly to New York to address the 4th Committee of the United Nations, while Dr Garcia will remain in Birmingham to network and make contact with new UK Ministers, senior Conservative MPs and others.

There will be a Gibraltar stand and a Gibraltar Government reception at each of the main conference venues.

The Gibraltar Government will also be represented at the conference of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) in Belfast on October 7-8, which overlaps slightly with that of the Scottish National Party (SNP) which will take place from October 8 – 10 in Aberdeen.

“ It will be recalled that the Government expanded its presence among the UK political family following the referendum decision to leave the European Union in June 2016 and has since then extended its participation in those party conferences to include both the DUP and SNP,” said the Government statement.

Gibraltar Ministers will be supported at these events by the team from Gibraltar House in London, including its Director Dominique Searle.

“The UK party conference season gives the Government the opportunity to renew contacts with old friends of Gibraltar and also importantly to establish new relationships,” said Dr Garcia.

“Part of the effort will be directed at informing and briefing MPs on the latest developments relating to the negotiation of the future relationship of Gibraltar with the European Union. It is essential that the Gibraltar point of view is put across to as many people as possible during the course of these events. This will happen directly face to face, during the Gibraltar reception and at the permanent Gibraltar stand.”

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