UK Armed Forces Minister welcomes ‘positive milestone’ as new legislation is commenced
Gibraltar’s new Armed Forces Act was commenced yesterday as the Governor, Lieutenant General Edward Davis, signed off on the legislation in the presence of the UK’s Minister for the Armed Forces, Mark Lancaster, and Chief Minister Fabian Picardo.
The siding took place during a ceremony on board the Royal Navy destroyer HMS Diamond.
“This really is a milestone event for us,” Mr Lancaster said of the legislation.
“It is incredibly important to us as it enables the relationship between the Royal Gibraltar Police and the service police to continue to go from strength to strength.”
“That’s particularly important to us because I cannot begin to underline just how important Gibraltar is strategically to the UK Armed Forces.”
The new legislation, which was approved by the Gibraltar Parliament last month, gives effect in Gibraltar to certain provisions of the UK Armed Forces Act, which applies to service personnel and civilian employees.
It does so while respecting the Gibraltar Constitution and the primacy of the Royal Gibraltar Police as the lead law enforcement agency throughout Gibraltar.
“I think this is a very positive piece of legislation, it mirrors the Armed Forces Act that was passed in the United Kingdom and it provides the legal framework for our service personnel to live and work here in Gibraltar,” Mr Lancaster said.
“It simply strengthens the relationship between the Royal Gibraltar Police and our service police,” he added.
HMS Diamond, a type 45 destroyer, is in Gibraltar for a routine scheduled visit ahead of returning to her home port of Portsmouth.
The vessel had been deployed to the Baltic and conducted escort duties of Russian vessels transiting through UK territorial waters.
Asked about the presence of Russian vessels in Ceuta, Mr Lancaster said: “I think we need to be cautious,” adding: “Clearly our relationship with Russia is pretty tricky at the moment after what happened in Salisbury earlier in the year and we are absolutely standing up to Russia and I think that we will continue to escort their vessels.”