Wide cross-section of MPs for National Day
A delegation of 21 Members of the UK Parliament will be coming to Gibraltar this year for National Day, the Gibraltar Government has confirmed.
The members of the House of Commons and House of Lords represent the Conservative Party, the Labour Party, the Scottish National Party and the Liberal Democrats. There are also two Members of the European Parliament who represent Labour and UKIP in the South West region and Gibraltar who will be attending.
Against the backdrop of Brexit, the Gibraltar Government said National Day offered an opportunity to brief MPs fully on the position post referendum and to allow them to examine the situation on the ground.
“It is more important than ever that we send out the message, as we do every year that our right to self-determination is not for sale,” said Dr Joseph Garcia, the deputy Chief Minister.
“It is equally important that it is understood that Gibraltar will not give in to Spanish bullying.”
“We need support from our friends in Parliament to drive this message home. There has been considerable interest in Gibraltar this year for obvious reasons.”
“We will ensure that those who come here are fully briefed on the latest issues which are of concern to Gibraltar.”
“This work will be followed up at the Party Conferences later this month and throughout the year in Westminster and in Brussels.”
Meanwhile, the Chairman of the SDGG Richard Buttigieg has urged all Gibraltarians to turn out in greater numbers than ever to support the political rally at Casemates and the other events surrounding National Day.
“Our next National Day is perhaps one of the most important opportunities we have as a people to show the world that, whatever may have happened elsewhere, we remain resolute in our desire to remain British, to retain our Gibraltarian identity and, above all, to exercise our right to self-determination freely and democratically,” he said.
National Day, Mr Buttigieg added, is a unique opportunity to show the world “who we are and what we are made of”.
The SDGG acknowledges that there are always issues on which everyone cannot agree.
Mr Buttigieg highlighted the fact that balloons will not be released on the day and that some of the UK Members of Parliament who may be attending may have campaigned for Leave.
“We do not expect everyone to agree on those issues,” he said.
“Surely, however, the celebration of our identity as a people is more important than anything else.”
The MPs include old friends of Gibraltar as well as new ones who have come out here to learn more about the Rock, the Government said.
There will be a working lunch which the Chief Minister, Fabian Picardo, and Dr Garcia will attend.
Mr Picardo will make use of this to provide a detailed briefing and answer any questions.
In addition to this, the visitors will also have the opportunity to speak to Gibraltar MPs and to a cross-section of the community during the events that have been organised for National Day.