Gibraltar Chronicle Logo
UK/Spain News

Labour manifesto includes commitment to ‘always’ defend Rock’s British sovereignty and self-determination

Labour Party leader Sir Keir Starmer launches his party's manifesto at Co-op HQ in Manchester, while on the General Election campaign trail. Photo by Stefan Rousseau/PA

The Labour Party's manifesto for the UK's July 4 general election includes a commitment to “always” defend the British sovereignty of Gibraltar and its right to self-determination.

The commitment is set out in a single line in a section of the 136-page document titled ‘Defending the UK’s security’.

“Defending our security also means protecting the British Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies, including the Falklands and Gibraltar,” Labour said in the manifesto, which was launched on Thursday.

“Labour will always defend their sovereignty and right to self-determination.”

In another reference relevant to Gibraltar, the document says too that Labour will “…work with our allies and international financial centres to tackle corruption and money laundering, including in Britain, Crown Dependencies, and in British Overseas Territories.”

The manifesto also sets out how Labour views the UK’s relationship with the EU and the steps it will take if elected to Government on July 4.

“With Labour, Britain will stay outside of the EU,” the manifesto says.

“But to seize the opportunities ahead, we must make Brexit work.”

“We will reset the relationship and seek to deepen ties with our European friends, neighbours and allies.”

“That does not mean reopening the divisions of the past.”

“There will be no return to the single market, the customs union, or freedom of movement.”

Instead, Labour said it will work to improve the UK’s trade and investment relationship with the EU by tearing down unnecessary barriers to trade.

“We will seek to negotiate a veterinary agreement to prevent unnecessary border checks and help tackle the cost of food; help our touring artists; and secure a mutual recognition agreement for professional qualifications to help open up markets for UK service exporters,” the manifesto says.

“Labour will seek an ambitious new UK-EU security pact to strengthen co-operation on the threats we face.”

“We will rebuild relationships with key European allies, including France and Germany, through increased defence and security co-operation.”

“We will seek new bilateral agreements and closer working with Joint Expeditionary Force partners.”

“This will strengthen NATO and keep Britain safe.”

“Multilateral institutions remain indispensable, but they are struggling under the strain of new global challenges.”

“Labour will work with allies to build, strengthen and reform these institutions.”

“We will use the UK’s unique position in NATO, the UN, G7, G20 and the Commonwealth to address the threats we face, and to uphold human rights and international law.”

“Labour values international law because of the security it brings.”

“Britain will unequivocally remain a member of the European Convention on Human Rights.”

Reacting to the manifesto launch, a spokesperson for No.6 Convent Place said repeated the same position as earlier in the week when the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats issued their respective manifestoes for the election. 

The Gibraltar Government said it was in contact with the three main political parties contesting the election to ensure Gibraltar’s position on key issues was properly understood. 

"They are all committed to the self determination of the people of Gibraltar and the defence of our exclusively British sovereignty,” the spokesperson told the Chronicle, echoing the same line taken earlier in the week. 

Gibraltar’s inclusion in the Labour manifesto was welcomed by the GSD. 

Keith Azopardi, the Leader of the Opposition, said: “We welcome the explicit confirmation in the Labour manifesto that they will defend our right to self-determination and our sovereignty.” 

“This is a much more positive affirmation than in their 2019 manifesto which only promised there’d be ‘no change’ in our status or sovereignty but made no mention of our underlying rights.” 

“The 2024 commitment is a clearer recognition that the wishes of the people of Gibraltar and right to determine our future is the paramount consideration and from that perspective it is very welcome.” 

“Given the strong possibility that there will be a new Labour administration this is a good development.” 

“As I mentioned the other day when the Conservative plan was published we hope that whoever is elected will stand by Gibraltar and our wishes and continue the work to seek a safe and beneficial agreement with the EU.” 

The Conservative manifesto, launched on Tuesday, included a reference to Gibraltar in a section headed “leadership in the world”, in which the party set out its broad aims on the global stage if returned to government. 

“Our highest priority remains protecting the British homeland, Crown dependencies and overseas territories from risks and threats,” the 80-page document said. 

“As part of that, we continue to ensure the democratic rights of people in Gibraltar, the Falklands and all our overseas territories are protected.” 

The Liberal Democrat manifesto did not specifical mention Gibraltar. 

But the manifesto set out how the party would “fix the UK’s broken relationship with Europe”. 

Its long-term objective is to rejoin the EU. 

Most Read

Download The App On The iOS Store