Craig Mackinlay MP has called on the UK Government to give Gibraltar’s 23,000 voters the opportunity to elect their own representative to the House of Commons in Westminster and give them a say at the heart of Britain’s seat of democracy.
The call follows the UK’s referendum vote to leave the European Union. Gibraltar, as it similarly leaves the EU will lose its current entitlement of being represented as part of the South West region in the European Parliament; the argument was valid then that Gibraltar should have elected representation linked with the UK: post Brexit it becomes even more necessary.
Mr Mackinlay argues that the British Overseas Territory now sits in a unique constitutional position as it is a member of the single market but not a member of its Customs Union nor Schengen, despite having a land border with the EU. He proposes that the residents of Gibraltar should decide whether they would like to elect an MP to Westminster and has assured Gibraltarians that the UK has no wish to impose representation in the UK Parliament on them.
Nor would it change the devo-max settlement of the Rock’s 2006 constitution. Rather, the South Thanet MP claims, electing a Gibraltar MP to Westminster “would signal a perpetual and lasting bond of shared interests.”
Craig Mackinlay MP, commented:
“For over 300 years Gibraltar and its people have played their part in support of Britain’s history as a global leader in commerce and as a political power of influence. Gibraltar has - and continues to be - an unwavering supporter of the UK and a loyal member of the British family.
“Few were surprised that Gibraltar voted remain at the 23rd June 2016 EU referendum, reflecting its residents’ concerns that the EU had played, at times, a role in balancing the often fractious demands of its giant neighbour. But now that the UK is set to leave the EU and Gibraltar will be losing their representation in the European Parliament, I believe it is right that voters in the British Territory are given the power to elect their own representative to the House of Commons.
“The mechanics of how this might work would need to be discussed with Gibraltar’s leaders. It would be for the people of Gibraltar to decide if they wish to have such representation, but as we leave the EU and forge a new Global Britain, and given the Rock’s unique constitutional position with its membership of the Sterling zone and its rich historical links to Britain, there has never been a more appropriate time to cement our relationship with a parliamentary bond.
“I very much hope that, with this Bill, we may be able to reward the Gibraltarian people for their steadfast and loyal support to Britain.”
Mr Mackinlay, a longstanding Brexiteer, will formally present his Representation of the People (Gibraltar) Bill in a ten minute speech to MPs on Tuesday 15 May.