Labour delivers solid message of support on sovereignty and self-determination
Britain’s shadow Foreign Secretary, Labour’s Emily Thornberry, has sent a message to Chief Minister Fabian Picardo reaffirming her party's defence of Gibraltar’s right to self-determination.
Labour is still viewed with suspicion by many in Gibraltar who recall the Blair/Aznar bid to share the sovereignty of Gibraltar in 2002.
But this message may go some way to easing such concerns. It will also buttress Gibraltar’s position in the face of repeated attempts by the Spain’s acting PP government to link Brexit to joint sovereignty.
Gibraltar has firmly rejected any suggestion of sharing the Rock's sovereignty and the UK government has repeated its ‘double-lock’ commitment to respect the wishes of the Gibraltarians on this issue.
Now, Labour has added its voice to that commitment too.
“We know that you may now face challenges with your neighbours,” Mrs Thornberry wrote in the letter.
“Labour fully backs the self-determination of the people of Gibraltar.”
“We fully support the double lock concept by which the United Kingdom makes clear it will never enter into arrangements under which the people of Gibraltar would pass under the sovereignty of another State against your wishes.”
“And furthermore, the UK will not enter into a process of sovereignty negotiations with which Gibraltar is not content.”
Mrs Thornberry also reflected on the implications of Brexit for Gibraltar and acknowledged the way Gibraltar had voted in the EU referendum last June 23.
“Just weeks after the people of Gibraltar produced a 96% vote to remain in the European Union, from an impressive 88% turnout of the population, it is important that the people of Britain show solidarity as the Rock now faces the uncertainty created by the decision for a ‘Brexit’,” she said in her letter, which was made public by No 6 Convent Place.
“Gibraltar has a great tradition for social justice and for its loyalty to Great Britain over the centuries through thick and thin.”
“I am deeply conscious of the need to ensure that Gibraltar continues to enjoy the benefits and prosperity that it has derived from its membership of the EU through Britain."
"It is important that Britain keeps its doors open to the people of Gibraltar for trade and services so that that ‘single market’ between us continues.”
“Gibraltar should be fully involved in and represented at all negotiations and arrangements which the UK carries out with the EU, to ensure its position within the EU is fully protected.”