UK has 'political and moral obligation' to secure post-Brexit deal for Gibraltar, Commons told
The UK has a “political and moral obligation” to secure a post-Brexit deal for the people of Gibraltar, Conservative MP Sir Bob Neill has told the House of Commons, adding: “We gave our word.”
Sir Bob, the chairman of the Commons All Party Parliamentary Group on Gibraltar and a stalwart champion of the Gibraltarians in the UK Parliament, spoke up on behalf of Gibraltar during a debate on the UK/EU treaty.
"We gave a clear undertaking to the people of Gibraltar, who although they voted overwhelmingly to remain in the European Union are equally determined to remain part of the British family, that we would not leave them behind and would not leave the European Union without securing a deal for them to," he said, speaking via a virtual connection to the Commons.
"I hope that when he responds to the debate, the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster will confirm our government and our nation's continuing commitment to use every endeavour in the coming days to get a deal for the people of Gibraltar that protects their interests and respects their British sovereignty."
"We gave our word. Our future reputation in a global role will depend on our ability to keep our word. And their is a swift and immediate instance where we can be seen to do so."
"That's a matter of political and moral obligation."
"Against that basis, I think there are constructive things that we can do, set aside perhaps divisions of the past, and work together as a nation, collaboratively, with our friends and neighbours and those who we have given our word to support and assist."
Sir Bob supported the Bill for the treaty.
Gibraltar was mentioned briefly too by Conservative MP Dr Liam Fox and Labour MP Hilary Benn, who both reminded the Commons that a deal had yet to be secured for Gibraltar.
And Tory MP David Davis made similar point later in the debate too.
"Northern Ireland, we have issues to deal with,” he said.
“Fishing, we have issues to to deal with.”
“Gibraltar, we have issues to deal with.”
“So it's not over, it's not over. And all will lead to uncomfortable decisions in the near future."
All three supported the Bill too.
Scottish National Party MP Angus McNeil delivered a scathing assessment of the treaty and said Gibraltar had been “cast aside”.
Mr McNeil, who voted against the Bill, said Scotland was “heading for independence”.
There were mentions of Gibraltar in the House of Lords too as the Bill was debated, where Labour peer Baroness Hayter noted how the treaty did not include Gibraltar despite assurances to the Rock.
Conservative peer Baroness Hooper echoed that fact and pressed the UK Government to stand by Gibraltar.
“It is the last moment to try and safeguard the future of the loyal people of Gibraltar…”she told the Lords.
“It’s already been said that Gibraltar had received assurances, that there would be no deal unless Gibraltar’s position was covered. And it’s been excluded.”
“But I think that the Government of Gibraltar agrees, as I do, that the worst-case scenario would have been no deal at all.”
Baroness Hooper called on the UK Government to give assurances in Parliament that a free trade agreement for Gibraltar’s with the EU “would be the appropriate light touch approach” to deal with the movement of goods, and that the airport, port and border with Spain will be the subject of “further careful and detailed negotiation which will always include the Government of Gibraltar.”
“And let it be said that the Government of Gibraltar has behaved in an exemplary manner by not making a fuss and not falling out of line with official UK policy, and has always sought to find ways to resolve the difficulties that Brexit has brought to them even though 96% of Gibraltarians voted to remain.”